By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason J. Perry, Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO - Cmdr. Calliope E. Allen, Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) ophthalmologist currently deployed as an Individual Augmentee to Afghanistan, won the 2012 Building Stronger Female Physician Leaders in the Military Health System (MHS) award, Junior Navy category, which will be presented next month during the annual MHS Conference Jan. 30 through Feb. 2, 2012 in National Harbor, Md.
Allen is the sole NATO Role 3 Ophthalmologist and Oculoplastic Surgeon in southern Afghanistan. She deployed in June of 2011, where she performed more than 240 surgical cases in her first two months at Kandahar, Afghanistan and performed life-changing reconstructive surgeries to war wounded patients daily.
NMCSD's Ophthalmology Department Chairman, Capt. Kenneth C. Kubis nominated her for the award, which recognizes female leaders in medicine in the U.S. Armed Forces.
"Cmdr. Allen is a natural leader and team builder. She is a perfect example of a covenant leader, one who makes a bond with the people around her," said Kubis. "When the assignment to Afghanistan was presented to the command, Cmdr. Allen raised her hand and was adamant about being the person that should fill the position."
She has been identified as a natural leader in Afghanistan and designated as the Department Head of the Operating Room leading a team of 35 doctors, nurses and hospital corpsmen, in addition to managing a budget of $7 million.
"We provide military patients and their families the best care in the world and it is because of dedicated professionals like Cmdr. Allen," said Rear Adm. C. Forrest Faison III, Commander, NMCSD. "I'm extremely proud of her commitment to patient-centered care and the enthusiasm she brings to work every day. This is a prime example of what our staff is capable of, whether serving at NMCSD or deployed around the world providing combat casualty care."
Allen graduated with distinction from the University of Maryland, College Park with a degree in General Biological Sciences as part of the Zoology Honors Program. She then attended medical school at the University of Maryland at Baltimore, School of Medicine and received her doctorate of medicine in 1997. In mid-1998 she completed a year-long internship with the General Surgery Department at NMCSD. She later completed her residency at the Ophthalmology Department of NMCSD between 2002 and 2005. Allen then travelled to Massachusetts and completed her fellowship in Oculoplastics, Orbit, Lacrimal and Reconstruction at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston. She holds an active license to practice medicine through the Medical Board of California.
Upon her return from deployment, Allen will continue with her work in the Ophthalmology and Oculoplastic clinics, sit on the committee for Project C.A.R.E., and work with the Comprehensive Combat and Complex Casualty Care program giving assistance wherever needed to wounded, ill or injures service members.
"One of the finest opthamologists and oculoplastic surgeons," said Kubis. "Cmdr. Allen's career in Navy medicine is the perfect marriage of outstanding clinical acumen and exceptional leadership. I'm very proud of her, proud to work with her," he said. "She is a natural leader and no matter where she goes she will excel if given the opportunity."
For more information on NMCSD's Ophthalmology Clinic visit: http://www.med.navy.mil//sites/nmcsd/Patients/Pages/OpthalmologyClinic.aspx
For more news from Naval Medical Center San Diego, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/sd.