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As part of its strategic planning, Walter Reed Bethesda recently hosted a series of Gallery Walks, providing staff and patients the opportunity to give their input into shaping the medical center's future.

Ann-Marie Regan, an organizational development practitioner, explained the Gallery Walks are designed for "a free flow of information and ideas from staff and patients to help define what we choose to achieve in the next several years as a command. It's a way to get your opinions and voice into the [strategic planning] process," Regan said.

The Gallery Walks focused on foundations and pillars of the medical center’s strategic plan. The two foundations are people and resources. The six pillars include quality of care, service excellence, research, readiness, education and the business of health care. They support the medical center’s mission and vision of being the nation’s medical center leading in patient-centered care, innovation, and excellence in education and research.

Set up like museum exhibits, but instead of paintings and photographs, the displays included questions, statements, objectives and effects on large posters hung on walls and easels throughout the medical center. Staff and patients were encouraged to view the "displays" and post their comments and ideas for achieving the effect for the objectives of each foundation and pillar.

Champion for the resources pillar, Navy Capt. Joseph Pickel said the strategic plan is driven by command staff and therefore, he encourages everyone to take ownership. He went on to remind staff the importance of this "historic endeavor," and that's taking care of our heroes. "It gives us a roadmap of where we need to be and what we have to do ... we're going to make that the roadmap for the command."

Army Col. Michael Nelson, champion for the education pillar, agreed. "The [Gallery Walks] concept resonates with me. What I like is the command at this institution wants patients and personnel assigned in every form and facet to be part of the planning process. We want to make sure the plan makes sense. We're part of the team that will execute it, we will help build it and we’re going to make it work. It makes perfect sense."

Dr. Bill Gradwell said he posted his comments and ideas on displays during the Gallery Walks because the process lets his voice be heard about one of the medical center’s “major” mission -- education. “[It’s] a key part of any medical complex.”

Army Maj. Roseanne Ressner said her staff is committed to improving things at Walter Reed Bethesda for patients, trainees and employees.

“We’re really investing in improving anything we can from the trainees to the staff to make Walter Reed Bethesda the place that everybody wants [it] to be,” she said. I think everybody should be invested in it.”

"It's important we contribute and have a voice," said Army Maj. Lester Mack. "We should participate in activities like this so we can get a buy-in from all stakeholders."