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McKenzie earns Order of Military Medical Merit

Posted: March 19, 2013 4:03 p.m.
Updated: March 20, 2013 5:00 a.m.

U.S. Surgeon General Patricia Horoho recently presented the Order of Military Medical Merit to Col. Robert C. McKenzie Jr., son of Lt. Col. (ret.) and Mrs. Robert C. McKenzie Sr. of Camden. McKenzie and his wife, Marimer, are the parents of three children, Alex, Andrew and CeCe.

Membership in the Order is limited to Army Medical Department (AMEDD) officers, noncommissioned officers, civilians, retirees and 18Ds who have made significant contributions to the AMEDD over a substantial period of time.

McKenzie is stationed at the United States Army Health Clinic, (USAHC) at Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy. He is chief of the Department of Behavioral Health and the European Regional Medical Command (ERMC) Psychiatry consultant.

During the last 18 years, McKenzie has dedicated himself to the care of soldiers, their families and the military community. His contributions are recognized at the highest levels of the AMEDD. He was nominated for the Surgeon General’s Physician Recognition Award in 2004 and the Excalibur Award in 2009. He was also selected to receive the distinction of being the Landstuhl Regional Medical Canter’s (LRMC) Commander’s Conference Superstar in 2010, for his efforts at the redeployment and reintegration of the 173rd Airborne Battalion Combat Team (ABCT). His model was quickly imported to other military units and became the European Regional Medical Command’s (ERMC) protocol.

McKenzie has also developed programs and processes to address all aspects of the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) Cycle and to care for soldiers and their families. He was the primary architect for the Behavioral Health Emergency Response Team for Ft. Campbell, Ky., a community of nearly 80,000 eligible beneficiaries of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), in support of 2001 Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) I.

He developed the High Risk Unit Assessment protocol for the 173rd ABCT, a process which required him to physically circulate through their battle space in Afghanistan, in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) VII and again in (OEF) X. This approach allowed him to assess deployed soldiers’ level of stress, their utilization of behavioral health care in theater and consumption of medicines used to treat mental disorders.

McKenzie’s approach also created a redeployment and reintegration process to assist soldiers and their families with having successful reunions

McKenzie’s work has assisted in creating a relationship between the AMEDD and the 173rd ABCT that decreases barriers to seeking behavior health care and to decrease the stigma of asking for help.

Throughout his career, McKenzie worked to educate his peers and the community. He has made multiple American Forces Network (AFN) Television commercials related to stress reduction and suicide awareness in addition to discussing these topics on AFN radio. He has presented lectures to Family Readiness Groups (FRGs) at Ft. Campbell, Ky., and in Vicenza, Italy. He presented “The Emotional Cycle of Development,” and “Deployment Stress and Families,” during the U.S. Army Medical Command and Blanchfield Academic Day in 2004. He also presented at the ERMC MED SURG conference in 2008 and 2009. During each of these conferences, he provided multiple lectures on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, High Risk Unit Assessments and Deployment Cycle Support. McKenzie also recently co-authored the chapter on “Military Medical Ethics” in the textbook of military medicine.

McKenzie was recently selected to serve as the ERMC Behavioral Health Consultant to the office of the Surgeon General.

 

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