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With less than 100 days until the historic merger that will provide integrated military healthcare care to our region, a lot of effort, progress and success stories are emerging on the cultural integration front at all three medical facilities.

The Family Medicine Residency has put tremendous effort towards successful integration and becoming DoD's premier Family Medicine Residency. They have been a joint Army-Air Force residency for several years, and this past fall they added the first Navy staff person, Cmdr. Ellzy. The first group of Navy residents started in June of this year.

As Chief of the Department of Family Medicine, Cmdr. Ellzy's top tips for successful integration include flexibility and good communication. "The department has dealt with a myriad of logistics to get to this point, but we've stayed flexible and picked our way through it." As the services integrated, Ellzy says they discovered many differences in culture and how each service operates. But this was not a deterrent. "While there are different uniforms and different protocols, when it comes to running the clinic, there are a lot of commonalities among the services." He adds that educating yourself and being aware of what the other services do allows you to make your best decisions.

His second communication tip centers on active listening. "You need to not only listen to what they are telling you, but also what they are not telling you. Then you can ask good questions and have a healthy open dialog. The integration has taken almost three years, so being patient and flexible is really important, this doesn't happen overnight."

Everybody has an important role in shaping the new joint culture, so get engaged and stay informed! There are ongoing town halls, change management and resiliency training and support services available for you and your team. For more information and a full schedule of cultural integration activities and events at your medical center, visit www.capmed.mil. You can also subscribe to the MTF newsletters and social media sites to stay up to date on CI support and success stories.