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    “Be Army Strong,” says the Army. “Be Someone Special,” says the Navy.
    Army Major Keyia Carlton, Research Psychologist at the Naval Health Research Center encapsulates the best of both.
    MAJ Keyia Carlton, a native of Norton, Massachusetts enlisted into the Army in 1999 where she attended Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. During her first assignment at Ft. Hood, Texas, then Specialist Canto applied for the Green to Gold Program and was accepted. She was awarded a four-year ROTC scholarship to attend Virginia State University, a historically Black university in Petersburg, Virginia. By 2006, she obtained a B.S. in Psychology with the highest GPA in her department, was commissioned as an Army Finance officer, and recognized as a Distinguished Military Graduate.

    Now an Army Officer, Second Lieutenant Carlton went on to complete her Basic Officer Leader Course Phase I and II, then got assigned to the 208th Finance Battalion in Mannheim, Germany as a Deputy Disbursing Officer. While in Germany with the 208th Financial Management Company, she was deployed to Iraq. At Camp Liberty from 2009-2010, she managed the largest Disbursing Station in the Army, collecting about a billion dollars in collections and disbursements.

    Although a very thorough and diligent finance officer, Keyia was interested in continuing her education in psychology. Something in the medical field of study was more suited to her strengths and liking. “I came to a crossroads where I was either going to get out of the military or switch branches. Ever since my first semester at VSU where I saw Black women role models with PhDs -- Obtaining my own PhD became something I wanted to pursue,” Keyia shares. “I switched branches with the intent to apply to LTHET even though it wasn’t guaranteed. I told the assignment officer, getting accepted into LTHET is between me and God, I just need you to let me in your branch. Thankfully everything worked out.”

    LTHET stands for Long Term Health Education and Training. It is a program offered in the Medical Service Corps (Nurses, Veterinarians, and Medical Specialists) as an incentive to pursue health related education in the form of fellowships, internships or obtaining a degree. There is a selection board where a few candidates get accepted to participate in the each of the fully funded programs.

    MAJ Carlton transferred branches to the Medical Service Corps, attended the Army Medical Department Captain’s Career Course, and the Health Services Plans, Operations, Intelligence, Security and Training Course at Fort Sam Houston, Texas in 2010.

    Her first assignment as an MS Officer was as a Medical Planner with the U.S. Army Central Surgeon Directorate at Fort McPherson, Georgia, which transitioned to Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina from 2010 to 2013. She was responsible for coordinating Theater Security Cooperation events both in the U.S. and abroad between Army medical personnel and military medical personnel in countries within the Central Command area of responsibility.
    MAJ Carlton was then accepted into the Long Term Health Education and Training Program were she was awarded a scholarship for the Research Psychologist area of concentration. She went on to earn her MS degree in General Psychology and her PhD in Health Psychology with a focus in Behavioral and Community Health Science at Virginia State University.

    Her doctoral work demonstrated that including cultural variables for minority populations such as African American acculturation or cultural mistrust to a general model of mental health treatment seeking improved the model fit among African American college students.

    MAJ Carlton’s first assignment as a Research Psychologist was at the Personnel Assessment Research Unit of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. She was charged with coordinating and executing all aspects of gender integration perceptions research due to females recently being allowed in infantry, armor, and combat engineer positions. She briefed findings to senior Army leaders such as Army G1, the Sergeant Major of the Army, the Army Chief of Staff and the Secretary of the Army to inform them on the perceptions progress of gender integration.
    Currently, MAJ Carlton is stationed at Naval Health Research Center, serving as the Department Head of Deployment Health Research within the Military Population Health Directorate, supervising research investigators and providing consultation for research on the impact of military service on reproductive health and the health of service members, veterans, and families. Additionally, she is the Principal Research Investigator of the Recruit Assessment Program, which examines how pre-military mental, physical, and behavioral health serves as protective or risk factors for future health and career outcomes of Marine Corps recruits.

    “The military has so many options to choose from. If you don’t get it right the first time you can try something else. I think anyone who can serve, should, in some capacity. There are many excellent opportunities.” I certainly took advantage of the educational benefits. I have 3 degrees paid for and I get to contribute to the health promotion of those who serve. Furthermore, I have had great experiences, traveled to incredible places, and worked with so many amazing and diverse people. I joined the Army to buy some time while I figured out what I wanted to do and realized staying in was the best option for me. It has been such a rewarding experience.

    MAJ Carlton's awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2 Oak Leaf Clusters (OLC), Army Commendation Medal (1 OLC), Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and Overseas Service Ribbon (1 OLC). MAJ Carlton is married to her husband DeShawn, and they have one son.
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