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Gateway momentum impresses Defense Health Agency director

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- The Defense Health Agency director praised the 59th Medical Wing’s Gateway Performance System during a Feb. 24 visit to the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center.

”What you have here has the ability to add value to the entire enterprise; the work you are doing is extremely important,” said Vice Adm. Raquel Bono about the wing’s focus on innovation and continued process improvement.

DHA is a joint, integrated combat support agency that enables the Army, Navy, and Air Force medical services to provide a medically ready force and ready medical force to combatant commands in peacetime and wartime. The agency supports the delivery of integrated, affordable, and high quality health services to Military Health System beneficiaries.

After gaining insight into the 59th MDW’s Gateway Performance System and Gateway Academy – the driving forces behind the wing’s evolution into a high reliability organization – Bono talked about the potential for the wing’s work to support DHA’s work toward driving greater integration of clinical and business processes throughout the entire MHS and enabling rapid adoption of proven practices.

“As I’m looking at what you are doing and I see how you’re developing the skills, I’d love to be able to see how we can (apply) this. How do we get this across the (MHS) enterprise?” Bono said during her discussion with wing leadership.

The Gateway Academy is an evidence-based curriculum designed to teach problem-solving techniques, inspire Airmen to challenge the status quo and teach leadership skills that foster empowerment, trust and respect. Gateway Academy attendance is open to all wing staff and required for leadership positions.

During Bono’s visit to the 59th Medical Wing, she heard from several Gateway students about the impact the course is having at all levels around the wing as providers and staff look to improve patient care and save money.

Since the first class graduated in 2015, nearly 550 Gateway graduates around Joint Base San Antonio and beyond have been the catalysts behind more than 200 “Just Do It” projects, and 354 capstone projects, improving processes and saving the Air Force over $21 million by August 2016, said Maj. Crystal Karahan, the 59th Medical Wing Gateway Academy chief.

For more information about the 59th Medical Wing and the Gateway Academy, visit