FALLS CHURCH, Virginia –
Army Maj. Gen. Telita Crosland became the Defense Health Agency's fourth director in its nearly 10-year existence Jan. 3, pledging to continue taking the DHA "down its path of excellence."
With a career spanning three decades of service in the Army and in the military health system, Crosland succeeded Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place, who served as director since October 2019.
The Senate confirmed her promotion to lieutenant general, and she will receive her third star Jan. 20. She also serves as the first African American DHA director.
Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Seileen Mullen presided over the Jan. 3 ceremony at Defense Health Headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia, to welcome Crosland as the new director, transitioning from her most recent position as the Army's deputy surgeon general.
I'm thankful for this opportunity and grateful to this team, and excited about partnering with our surgeons general, our industry partners and our patients during a dynamic period in health care. ... I love what we do in our military health system in service to our country and those we are privileged to serve."
Army Maj. Gen. Telita Crosland, Director, Defense Health Agency
The DHA was established in 2013 as a U.S. military combat support agency to manage medical enterprise services worldwide. In 2017, as a result of congressional mandates, DHA was tasked to directly manage all military hospitals and clinics and integrate military health care with the TRICARE network of providers around the world.
As Crosland's predecessor, Place oversaw this massive evolution of DHA during his tenure, with more than 700 military medical, dental and veterinary facilities transitioning from the Army, Navy and Air Force to the agency. Currently, the DHA's military and civilian workforce of more than 140,000 serve approximately 9.6 million active duty service members, military retirees and their families worldwide.
"The mission of military medicine essentially stayed the same for all 36 years of my time in uniform ... and that's to take superb care of anyone who's raised their hand to serve and to deliver that care anywhere in the world, under the most challenging circumstances imaginable," Place said. "Our military health mission endures. But organizations, on the other hand, must evolve. High reliability is about adaptation; it's about improvement. And sometimes that means bringing in a completely new organization, in this case the Defense Health Agency."
Under Place's leadership, DHA was also awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award for Excellence by the Secretary of Defense for its work responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic and mitigating its spread.
"Though Gen. Place's shoes will be hard to fill, I am confident that Gen. Crosland is the woman to do so," Mullen said.
Launching her military career as an Army medical corps officer in 1993, Crosland is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the Eisenhower School.
She has served in a variety of leadership positions throughout her military career at military installations, hospitals and clinics across the globe. Most recently as the Army deputy surgeon general, she also served as the deputy commander of the Army's medical command.
"From her days as a West Point cadet through her academic accomplishments as she earned her doctorate of medicine, masters of public health, and masters of science in national resource strategy, to her long list of leadership positions in service to our nation, Gen. Crosland has shown exactly the kind of perseverance, dedication, and excellence that will serve her, and us, so well in her new position," Mullen said.
Crosland is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine, a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, and a recipient of the Army Surgeon General's "A" proficiency designator. Her awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and the Joint Service Achievement Medal.
"Since the establishment of the agency in 2013, I have witnessed what you are capable of, and I know you bring a passion for and commitment to excellence," Crosland said of the DHA's 140,000-strong workforce.
She concluded by accentuating that the new vision of the DHA is to "care for the joint force and those we are privileged to serve — anytime, anywhere — always."
About the Defense Health Agency
At a glance, the Defense Health Agency, a combat support agency:
- Delivers health care to millions of our service members, families, and retirees, with the principal purpose of keeping the forces healthy and ready
- Manages the TRICARE program, which includes hundreds of thousands of civilian network providers' and integrating military and private sector care
- Leads a worldwide public health system that proactively prevents injuries and illnesses, and protects our communities from environmental threats
- Conducts and coordinates essential medical research to better prepare the military for known and emerging threats, both natural and manmade
- Leads a military medical education and training system, providing superbly prepared medical professionals for every medical mission
- Manages an $11 billion medical supply chain annually, including about 560,000 medical devices