711th Human Performance Wing officer named Young Health Care Administrator of the Year

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Capt. Matthew Smith, executive officer at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing here, has been selected as the 2018 Air Force Medical Service Annual Award of USAF Young Health Care Administrator of the Year.

“I couldn’t be happier for Matt – it is a well-deserved award!,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Koeniger, commander of the 711 HPW. “Having worked with Matt for about seven months now, I’m not surprised he won the award. He has a phenomenal work ethic and lives the AF’s core values. He is one of those rare individuals who is wise beyond his years. He makes a point to stay up on current events, which coupled with his civilian experience, provides him with a broad view of the world. I think we’ll see much more from Captain Smith in the coming years!”

Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg, Air Force Surgeon General, made the announcement Feb. 14. The AFMS Awards program recognizes individuals and teams that represent the best of Air Force medics during a fiscal year award period.

Smith, who previously served as an enlisted member, previously spent some time in the Air Force Reserve while attending graduate school and worked in industry after receiving a master’s degree in Business Administration.

“I missed being in uniform every day and doing real work in improving the lives of people around me. I did not work in health care, and didn’t even know what the Medical Service Corps was, but the Officer recruiter pushed me in that direction and it ended up being a blessing. I love working in this environment and can’t imagine working anywhere else.”

“The award recognizes all the investments that my leaders and mentors have made in me, and the support that my subordinates have provided me,” said Smith. “It’s an individual award, but it’s the output from an entire support team. We’re blessed to serve the best patients in the world, and I just try to come in and do the right thing by folks. I’m a big advocate for the Medical Service Corps and the services we provide. We may not be the clinical ‘spear’ but I think our ability to build relationships, look at data, and be smart about processes helps us stay relevant in this modern, very competitive healthcare environment.”

Smith said his mission every day is to solve a problem and solve it for the last time.

“I think about how much time we all spend solving problems that we have solved before and I cannot stand that. If I fix a process, or overcome a challenge, I shamelessly broadcast it – build a binder, make a slide deck, give a briefing – whatever. It’s not about credit – it’s about progress. There are problems that we still need to solve for the first time, so solving repeat problems is kind of silly. If you pull a weed, make it your mission to pull it up from the root.”

The AFMS Awards portfolio currently includes 81 separate awards.