• MEDDAC, MAHC welcome new commander

  • Cassella relinquishes MAHC/MEDDAC command to Mower.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Col. David Cassella relinquished command of Munson Army Health Center and Medical Department Activity to Col. Scott Mower in a ceremony June 20 in the Lewis and Clark Center’s Eisenhower Auditorium.
    “This is the ceremony that honors the unit,” said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Johnson, U.S. Army Regional Health Command-Central commanding general. “Leaders change but the unit stays the same and today that’s what we’re doing for the talented and dedicated health care professionals at Munson Army Health Center.”
    Johnson said change is the only constant in the Army and that Cassella and his team at MAHC embraced change during his time as MAHC’s commander.
    “Colonel Cassella and his health care team have looked at the landscape that’s been presented to them by military medicine as well as looked through the lens of what is the current operating environment here at Fort Leavenworth,” he said.
    Cassella assumed command June 3, 2016. During his tenure as commander the MAHC Readiness Center opened, bringing optometry, immunization, audiology, nutritional and occupational health together in one place, and rehabilitation services expanded to include acupuncture, occupational therapy, chiropractic care and physical therapy, Johnson said.
    “It’s no surprise that with all these positive changes, Munson consistently performed as one of the best Army military treatment facilities for access to care, for patient satisfaction and for cost efficiency,” he said, adding that the staff earned two U.S. Army Medical Command Awards for patient satisfaction.
    “Colonel Cassella and team, I applaud you for your leadership and your courage to embrace change, to adapt to the current operating environment you have and to meet the needs of those in the community,” he said.
    Cassella also implemented safety changes to MAHC after 1st Lt. Katie Ann Blanchard was attacked by her subordinate Sept. 7, 2016, Johnson said.
    “Colonel Cassella and a team at Munson set to work to enhance the safety of staff and the patients,” he said.
    The facility now has armed security guards, as well as monitoring and alarm systems. Changes were also made to the after-hours access policy.
    “Your all’s combined actions influenced the entire Army medicine safety posture. Others now benefit from your response. To me, that’s significant when we take something that was meant for evil and turn it into something that is benefitting others,” Johnson said.
    “Colonel Cassella, thank you for your calm, methodical and innovative leadership. You’ve enabled this dedicated Munson health care team to not only recover from tragedy, but to thrive and to succeed in making changes that have and will continue to have positive impact on the readiness of the units on this post and the men and women who serve our nation for years to come.”
    Page 2 of 3 - Cassella said he was humbled and honored to have served as MAHC and MEDDAC commander.
    “We have clearly had our ups and downs, but through it all we never lost focus,” Cassella said. “At the core mission, taking care of soldiers and families, we have significantly changed our small but mighty facility and you have responded admirably not missing a step, driving on with passion and compassion.”
    “I’m very proud of how our organization nested our business and clinical operations,” he said. “We have truly believed to show the benefits of teamwork and how you all have worked collectively to maximize the clinical capability, capacity and true example of how a team of teams ensures the best for our patients. Mighty Munson, thanks for this lifetime opportunity. I cannot think of any better way to end my career having the chance to command.”
    Cassella is retiring and moving to Clarksville, Tenn., to serve as vice president of the Virtual Care Unit for Contessa Health.
    Mower received a ROTC commission as a Medical Service Corps officer in 1994. His past assignments include the Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Detrick, Md.; Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Iraq and Afghanistan.
    His education includes the Army Medical Department Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, AMEDD Principles of Preventive Medicine, AMEDD Fundamentals of Occupational Medicine, Joint Medical Planner and Officer of Intermediate Level Education Courses.
    Mower has a master of strategic studies degree from the Army War College, a master of sciences in public health degree from the University of South Florida and a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Pennsylvania State University.
    “(Mower) is a proven leader with a reputation of excellence,” Johnson said. “I know that you are the right person for the job. I know that you will champion the readiness efforts that have already been started and promote and oversee an exceptional system of healthcare for Fort Leavenworth all the while making sure you never forget to take care of your people first.
    “Under your leadership, I’m confident that the Munson health care team will continue to excel in its role as a key partner in the surrounding communities in the entire military health system,” he said.
    Mower said he was honored to be chosen to command MAHC.
    “It’s an immense responsibility,” he said. “To the soldiers and civilians of Munson, I pledge to do my very best to guide our organization and continuously search for ways to make our outstanding organization even greater.
    “I’m excited to serve as your commander,” Mower said. “I eagerly look forward to … enabling you to continue providing exceptional healthcare services to our hospital’s beneficiaries and supporting the Fort Leavenworth community.”
    Page 3 of 3 - To conclude his remarks, Johnson addressed the MAHC team quoting retired Gen. Colin Powell.
    “‘There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure,’” he quoted.
    “Keep up the great work here. You’ve overcome tragedy and you have many victories to celebrate today,” he said. “Your hard work and dedication is a success story and evident in every patient that walks out healthier than they walked in.”
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