As the leader of the U.S. military’s relief efforts following the Haiti earthquake in 2010, he witnessed widespread loss of life and limb. As a fleet surgeon in Lebanon, he helped free hostages. And now, as commander of the nation’s leading military medical center, he is helping to heal wounded warriors. Through all these experiences, Rear Adm. Alton L. Stocks has learned lessons on leadership and teamwork that he will share in a public lecture at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine on March 12.

“We are fortunate to have such an experienced military doctor and leader speak at our school,” said Dr. David Trinkle, associate dean for community and culture and director of the interprofessional leadership course at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. “Rear Adm. Stocks’ insights into the critical role of teamwork in relief efforts and battlefield survival will resonate with our students and the community at large.”

Stocks’ visit is part of the interprofessional leadership program at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, one of the nation’s first medical schools to integrate interprofessional learning — which brings medical students and other health professional students together to learn and work in concert — across the entire curriculum. Recent studies have shown that interprofessional learning leads to enhanced patient care and safety.

“Rear Adm. Stocks knows firsthand the critical role that teamwork plays in saving lives both on the battlefield and following natural disasters,” said Trinkle. “He will help our students understand how their classroom learning translates to real-world situations. He will also teach us all about our military’s humanitarian efforts around the globe.”

In September 2011, Stocks assumed the role as commander of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. The health care network provides care for military service members and their families, as well as the U.S. president, congressional leaders, and Supreme Court justices. An estimated one million patients a year visit the facility.

For several months following the devastating Haiti earthquake, Stocks served as the Joint Task Force Haiti surgeon. The Haitian government estimates that more than 300,000 people died during the quake and its aftermath.

After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, Stocks earned his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine. His many awards include the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Commendation Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal.

The event, sponsored by the school’s Creativity in Health Education Program, will take place on March 12 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute auditorium. Refreshments will be available following the lecture.

Written by Alison Matthiessen, marketing communications specialist for the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.


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