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Leadership at Walter Reed Bethesda recently saluted its Breast Care and Research Center of Excellence for being the first in the Department of Defense (DOD) to achieve accreditation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC).

“This accomplishment is remarkable,” said Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) Chief of Staff, Army Col. Ramona Fiorey. “You have set the standard for DOD.”

Army Col. (Dr.) Craig Shriver, chief of General Surgery Service and interim director of the U. S. Military Cancer Institute at WRNMMC, said the breast care center achieving full accreditation, is the result “of a lot of work by a lot of people, [as well as] a supportive command.

“We started this process when there were two breast centers, one [at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center] and the other here [at the former National Naval Medical Center],” Shriver said. When the two medical centers integrated to form WRNMMC in September 2011, both breast care centers brought the best of what each had to offer to the table, and established one center better than either of the two previous ones, he added.

The Breast Care Center was reviewed for the three-year full accreditation by the NAPBC in August, and received official notification of the results in September. The center met all 27 criteria of the NAPBC survey, which included a “complete review of the continuum of breast care” provided at Walter Reed Bethesda, explained Jo A. Kruse, cancer registry manager at WRNMMC.

“[The survey entailed] formal and complete review of every aspect of breast care for both malignancies and benign conditions, from assessing risk factors to diagnosis, to treatment to long-time surveillance,” Kruse added.

“This is the first survey for [the] WRNMMC breast program, and [the] first [breast care] program within DOD to seek accreditation,” added Navy Capt. (Dr.) Ralph Jones, head of the Surgical Oncology Section, General Surgery Service. He explained the survey is the culmination of three years of planning which took into account integration and the formation of one breast care center, resulting in “a new patient-centered breast program unrivaled” and in keeping with the WRNMMC’s command vision and goal of “creating extraordinary experiences for our patients, family and staff.”

NAPBC surveyor, Dr. Donna-Marie Manasseh, chief of breast surgery, Brooklyn Breast Cancer Program, Maimonides Cancer Center, said Walter Reed Bethesda’s Breast Care Center “is a model breast center and exemplary program. All the components run efficiently and coordinate well to make an outstanding center. I was impressed with the attention to detail and patient-center approaches at every level.”