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News | June 21, 2024

CRDAMC Graduate Medical Education program holds annual graduation

By Rodney Jackson, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Public Affairs

FORT CAVAZOS, TEXAS – The Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Graduate Medical Education program held its 2024 annual graduation ceremony at the Lone Star Convention Center on Fort Cavazos 21 June.
Dating back to its origin in the ‘70s, the program’s ceremony recognized the accomplishments of fellows, residents and students across various medical disciplines as they finished up the GME program and took their final steps by receiving their certificates during the ceremony.
“What you do for this nation and for our warfighters is incredible; you fall into that lineage of heroism today rank and file,” said guest speaker, Col. Samuel Preston III, commander, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital at Fort Campbell, Tennessee. “Your generation of medical professionals will rise to new sets of challenges and develop new solutions for our evolving battlespaces.”
Ten residents, Capt. Lauren Canestrini, Maj. Peter Carr, Capt. Matthew Cohen, Capt. Samuel Doerle, Capt. Mikayla Hamilton, Capt. Rebekkah Hedrick, Capt. Karl Meier, Capt. Kai Norbeck, Capt. Brandon Oswald and Capt. David Watson received their specialty certification in emergency medicine.
Canestrini’s father, Kenneth Canestrini, a retired U.S. Army colonel that also served in the medical field on Fort Cavazos, and mother, Mary, a civilian registered nurse were a couple of the proud parents in the audience. Her husband is also a pilot in the Army.
“We are proud that our daughter can contribute further to Army medicine,” Kenneth said. “We’re proud of our son-in-law and our daughter as they contribute to the military.”  
“It’s been cool to work at the hospital that he worked and the area that they were in back when I was a twinkle in the eye,” said Lauren. “It’ been cool to get their perspectives too on the jobs they used to do and learn how things have changed.”
She had a mixture of emotions about graduation and finishing up the program as did fellow family medicine graduate Capt. Reggie Taylor.  
Maj. Holly Payne, Capt. Courtney Getchell, Capt. Corey Herman, Capt. Scott Petersen, Capt. Nathan Shaffer, Capt. Hayley Spires and Taylor received their specialty certification in family medicine. 
“The three years went by quick, and it feels special completing the program,” said Taylor. “It was a lot of hard work and long hours, and a lot of special people that bring you to this moment, and it’s a very special moment.”
In addition to the emergency and family medicine programs, one fellow, Maj. Shay Hartvickson, received his specialty certification from the emergency medicine ultrasound fellowship, and another fellow, Capt. Hillary Darrow, received her specialty certification from the family medicine obstetrics fellowship.
Three U. S. Army psychiatrists, Capt. Min Cui, Capt. Kyle Hardwick, and Maj. Jennifer Hein and one U. S. Air Force Capt. Andrew Mason received their specialty certifications in psychiatry.
Maj. Maria Cole, Capt. Lasheika Banks and Capt. Sarah Kopaciewicz, all anesthesia providers, received their specialty certifications from U.S. Army Nursing Anesthesia Program.
“We take immense pride in our trainees, faculty and healthcare support staff,” said Charles McNorton, deputy director, medical education, CRDAMC. “Their collective efforts have transformed them from supervised learners into confident, point-of-care professionals.”
Preston gave the graduates a little insight on just how important their jobs are by sharing a story in which a sandstorm grounded helicopters in Iraq, and the medical team there simultaneously received a nine-line medevac call but were given the OK to fly into the area where the storm was, encountering a 2500-foot-high wall of sand.
“What is most interesting, and what I want to burn into your memories, is that on the edge of that wall were the Kiowas and the warfighters flying out of danger to quickly land their helicopters in safety,” Preston said. “As the warfighters were leaving danger Army medicine was flying in. We run to the sounds of calls for help, we grab onto people’s hands who are uncertain, who are hurt, who don’t know where they are going, and we carry them to safety.
“Sometimes we are not successful, but we have a cohort of mental health professionals like the first graduating class of psychiatrists in the group today, who are there along with our chaplains, brothers and sisters to help those commands put together the pieces,” he added.
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