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NEWS | Dec. 21, 2016

USAISR deputy director honored with Distinguished Civilian Service Award

U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research

The deputy director of the Joint Trauma System, or JTS, at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, or USAISR, at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston received the highest honor given by the Secretary of Defense during a ceremony at the Pentagon Nov. 3. 

Mary Ann Spott, Ph.D., was among eight Department of Defense civilian employees who were awarded the Distinguished Civilian Service Award by Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work at the 61st annual ceremony. 

Spott joined USAISR in 2006 as the first director of the JTS to establish the DoD’s first and only trauma system and trauma patient registry.


“Spott developed the strategic vision for trauma operations across DOD and was instrumental in building the trauma system from the ground up,” said JTS Director Navy Capt. (Dr.) Zsolt Stockinger in the award nomination write-up.


With the creation of the JTS, the DOD Trauma Registry, or DODTR, was also established to capture trauma information from the point of injury to stateside recovery and rehabilitation. To date, the registry contains more than 130,000 trauma records from overseas contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The data from the records have led to more than 500 research publications and 44 clinical practice guidelines created specifically for deployed healthcare providers.


“The JTS, under Spott’s leadership, statistically verified that the implementation of the JTS clinical practice guidelines and educational opportunities resulted in decreasing fatality rates to less than nine percent despite the increased acuity of the Iraq and Afghanistan combat injured patient,” Stockinger noted in the award nomination.


“My work has always been centered around the patient,” Spott said.

In 2013, the JTS was designated as a Department of Defense Center of Excellence for Trauma by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense. The JTS was also recognized in 2014 with the U.S. Army Medical Command Wolf Pack Award and the Force Health Protection Award.


The awards continued in 2015 with the Major Jonathan Letterman Medical Excellence Award as well as being the first recipient of the Military Health System’s Battlefield Innovation Award.


Spott joined the USAISR after having served as associate director of the Management Information Systems and Trauma Registry at the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation for 10 years.


“I am humbled to have received the award and appreciate that patients have had better outcomes based on some of the work I have contributed,” Spott said. “It’s been a hard sell, but knowing people have survived and have been able to go home to their families makes all the tough times worth it.”


“The award to Dr. Spott is the long-overdue recognition of a decade’s dedication, personal and professional sacrifice in the service of the nation’s wounded warriors,” Stockinger said. “That it comes from the
Secretary of Defense underscores the impact what she has accomplished on their behalf.”


The DCS Award is the highest recognition DOD can award an employee, and it is presented to a small number of civilian employees whose careers reflect exceptional devotion to duty and significant contributions of broad scope of policy, scientific, technical or administrative fields that increase effectiveness and efficiency.