Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) at Bethesda was officially dedicated Nov. 10, 2011 during a ceremony officiated by The Honorable Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. It is the result of the merger of two of the most distinguished military medical centers in history, Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) and the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC). The merger resulted in the creation of the world largest military hospital with more than 2.4 million sq. ft. of clinical space, providing care to about a million beneficiaries per year.
WRAMC first opened its doors on May 1, 1909 in Washington, D.C. It was named after the famed Army physician and researcher who led the team that confirmed the theory yellow fever is transmitted by a particular mosquito species.
The site for NNMC, and the original main hospital, were selected and designed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938. It was officially dedicated by him on Aug. 31, 1942.
In their illustrious histories, both WRAMC and NNMC staff treated U.S. presidents, members of Congress, cabinet officials, world leaders, in addition to top military leaders.
On May 13, 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list was released by the Department of Defense calling for WRAMC and NNMC to merge to form WRNMMC, creating a modernized world-class joint-forces medical center.
When BRAC 2005 became law on Nov. 9, 2005, a core group of driven and determined individuals, both civilians and active duty members at military treatment facilities (MTF) in the National Capital Area, started on an exciting journey together. They met regularly and became the first “change leaders” that this monumental endeavor required.
Those early meetings, conferences and retreats set the stage for what the next six years would bring. When the three leading MTF flag officers, Maj. Gen. Kenneth L. Farmer, Jr. (now retired), Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Travis (now Maj. Gen.), Rear Adm. Adam M. Robinson (now retired vice admiral), and the President of the Uniformed Services University, Charles L. Rice, M.D., signed the first Joint Vision Statement in 2006, we had their wisdom and guidance to begin to create the most far-reaching and exciting partnership in the history of military medicine.
Since those early days, we have seen new hardworking groups of dedicated stakeholders such as The Program for Design team, the Office of Integration Committees, The Med-Cen Integration Teams and the Deputies for Integration and Transition lead us in moving the process forward. In 2007, we saw the formation of the Joint Task Force National Capital Region Medical Command, and in 2008, the comprehensive Environmental Impact Study was released.
The BRAC/Integration Journey Room
On July 3, 2008, the same day as President George W. Bush’s visit to NNMC to officiate the groundbreaking of the future hospital, NNMC unveiled the BRAC/ Integration Journey Room (BIJR). The room, located in the basement of Building 9 next to the Executive Dining Room, is a repository of information, and a symbolic tour of the voyage that started in September 2005.
Designed in the form of a “Situation Room” with three large walls of murals, photographs, charts, and other forms of visual communications depicting the BRAC "journey" from 2005 to 2011, the room represents a timeline of BRAC events and accomplishments. Much interesting and inspiring information can be found on the walls and in reference materials, photographs, handouts with additional data contained in the BIJR kiosk.
Although there were integrated clinics and medical staff working together from all branches of the services before BRAC, "functional integration" of clinics really flourished in 2007 and 2008. The "blended buildings" was used to represent that although still in various and separate locations, the NCA MTFs were working
together as a team.