I’ve been part of the HJF team now for a little over a year, and I still pinch myself for having the distinct privilege of serving with such incredible men and women who work tirelessly to help advance military medicine each and every day. As we celebrate our 35th anniversary, HJF has been ranked #14 out of 50 in the Washington Business Journal’s list of Non Profit Organizations Ranked by Recent Revenue.
This past year I focused on learning about the organization and the environment in which we are operating. I reorganized the senior executive team, selecting highly qualified individuals with energy, passion and commitment to help me take the organization forward. Under our new Chief Information Officer, our expanded IT team is working diligently to reshape our IT infrastructure for today’s demanding and complex knowledge transfer requirements. We also reshaped our program operations teams under a new Senior Vice President of Program Operations, bringing together our lead customer touch points into one unit. Furthermore, we have strengthened our ethics and compliance and internal audit teams under a newly hired Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer.
In addition to bolstering HJF’s leadership team, we began the process of integrating our physical spaces, bringing together program lab and office spaces from disparate leased facilities into one space co-located with our home office support teams. This physical proximity will enhance our ability to accelerate medical advances. Finally, after a series of measures taken across the board to achieve “quick wins” in improving our customers’ experience in working with us, we sent a first customer satisfaction survey mid-year. We will continue to request feedback to ensure we are addressing the needs of our researchers and program teams. With recently initiated metrics to track progress throughout the organization, I feel confident we will soon meet criteria to complete Phase I of the strategic plan we put into place last fall.
We were re-awarded the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research implementing partner contract for its international emerging diseases research program and retained incumbency on most of the other awards that were up for “recompete.” In addition, we established a new partnership with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) in its work to identify and recover the remains of our service members from past conflicts across the globe.
We continue to share an incredible partnership with the Uniformed Services University (USU), the reason Congress authorized our establishment in the first place. We have close to half of our global 2,800 staff assigned or affiliated with USU operations in some capacity, both at home in Bethesda and across the country. Our varied engagements with USU exemplify our ability to support diverse requirements with customers around the globe, all in support of advancing military medicine. We have also partnered successfully with the Services’ medical research labs, ranging from the Army’s medical research detachment in Kenya, to the Navy’s work in Uganda, to the Air Force’s labs in Dayton, Ohio. From the straightforward financial support to a Ph.D. student conducting her first research study to the complex program management of the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Research (PEPFAR) in Tanzania, our teams have been successful this past year in scoping our work to meet the demand of our military medicine partners.
For the upcoming year, I plan on moving into Phase II of our strategic plan, which is to begin growth, expansion and diversification. We will continue to build our information technology infrastructure, while focusing on key assignments within our Human Resources and Research Administration teams. The intent is to strengthen our back-office teams to best support our Program Operations. Our goal remains to create, sustain and grow processes that appropriately position talent, make best use of time and energize everyone involved to accelerate progress in military medicine. We will not only sustain our current operations, but with increasing quality and value, we plan to grow (within DoD), expand (inter-agency), and diversify (within private academia and industry).
Overall, FY18 has been a year of change across the organization. With a recommitment to excellence, my teammates and I look forward to a new year dedicated to advancing military medicine. In our mission to serve, I am extremely proud to be part of HJF.
Joseph Caravalho, Jr., M.D., MG, US Army (Ret.)
President and CEO