DVIDS – News – Brooke Army Medical Center Physician Receives 2022 AMSUS Physician Award


FALLS CHURCH, Va. – U.S. Army Lt. Col. Elizabeth Markelz, currently chief of infectious diseases at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, Texas, is the 2022 recipient of the Society of Federal Physician Award Health Professionals, referred to as AMSUS,. The AMSUS Awards are presented at the AMSUS Annual Meeting which will instead be virtual in 2022 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Lieutenant. Colonel Markelz is an eminent medical scientist, an operations-focused physician with a proven track record of leadership and patient safety,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Alice Barsoumian, director San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium Infectious Disease Research Fellowship Program. and Associate Professor of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, BAMC.

Markelz, who also chairs the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium’s (SAUSHEC) military readiness committee, took over as infectious disease chief in August 2020, six months after the coronavirus pandemic began.

“In January 2020, we knew COVID was an issue elsewhere,” Markelz said. “We knew it was going to happen here. We have started to withdraw our policies on Ebola and influenza. And the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) had a hospital preparedness document that was very helpful. We met with hospital leaders and stakeholders. We have developed a screening, treatment and relocation system.

Markelz remembered the first wave of infections in the summer of 2020 as the most difficult. She explained that it was a time of uncertainty and very resource intensive. “Everyone wanted information that we didn’t have,” she says.

“It was such a crazy time,” she said. “Do we test everyone who comes to the hospital? Do we test everyone who undergoes surgery? Do we have enough supplies? Dresses ? Masks? We were concerned about the conservation of N95 masks and disinfection. We had to develop policies from scratch. But we got there.

At the end of 2020, COVID vaccines were becoming available and she said they were doing better. What became difficult as different variants and waves of the virus continued to rage was seeing young people die and seeing the devastation the disease was taking on the unvaccinated. She said the Omicron variant of the disease had led to the highest number of hospital admissions since the start of the pandemic. “The resilience has been excellent,” she said. “But seeing young people die has been difficult for our healthcare workers. I see fatigue.

Markelz, who joined the force on active duty in 2006, entered under the Medical Professionals Scholarship Program. “My dad was in the Navy,” she said. “So I wanted a relationship with the military, but I didn’t have a relationship with water and ships,” she laughed. The army therefore became his choice. “The army had more medical facilities. They had more internal medicine residencies. The army was also more proactive in my recruitment. They sold the best for me, and they made it easy for me. If I wanted it, I could have it. The military had the largest internal medicine training facilities, which I knew I wanted to do,” she said.

Markelz said she was touched by the AMSUS honor. “I don’t like to be recognized,” she says. “I love it when my team is recognised. Nothing has happened because of my own efforts. There is so much about the team. I have had the advantage of having mentors and sponsors incredible. And I work with them.

Markelz said she was surrounded by top doctors. “I don’t know if everyone can go to work and be inspired by their colleagues,” she said. “They teach me. And I’m ready to absorb it all. My team is strong. It makes my job easy and very rewarding.

BAMC Hospital Commanding Officer Brig. General Murray was one of Markelz’s inspirations. “I’m very grateful to him,” she said. “He recruited me for an infectious disease. He always held me spellbound. I wouldn’t be in the army if it wasn’t for him.

Among Markelz’s many other honors are the Colonel Ramey Wilson Army Operational Medicine Award, the ACP Tri-Service Award, 2021; Finalist, Lt. Gen. Paul K. Carlton, Jr. Award, 2021; Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society – Uniformed Services Chapter, 2020; and Recognition of University of Health Sciences Uniformed Services Student Most Appreciated Instructor, 2019. February 25, 2022.


Date taken: 17.02.2022
Date posted: 17.02.2022 13:19
Story ID: 414856

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