New commander takes the helm of Kimbrough and MEDDAC at Fort Meade
Striving to inspire a culture of excellence
It is safe to say that Col. Tracy Michael embraces challenges.
Over the span of more than 30 years in the Army, Michael has served in a variety of positions — from medical logistics plans and operations officer for the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to director of public affairs in the Office of the Surgeon General.
Last week, in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael assumed command of the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity at Fort Meade and Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center.
“I’m very excited about leading and serving in an environment of persistent challenge and change,” Michael said. “Challenging times often reshape organizations and people. We need to focus on what is most important and the need to adapt.”
Among the challenges, he said, is protecting staff.
“I think the biggest short-term challenge is ensuring we protect and take care of our staff, as they are at the forefront of delivering safe, quality, patient-centered care that our beneficiaries deserve,” Michael said.
“Through engaged leadership, clear commander’s guidance and providing the proper resources, we will meet and beat any challenge.”
Michael assumed command of Kimbrough and MEDDAC during a change-of-command ceremony on June 18 outsideKimbrough. He replaces Col. James D. Burk, who served as commander for two years and has been assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Prior to arrivingat Fort Meade, Michael served as the director of public affairs and as principal adviser to the surgeon general and commanding general of U.S. Army Medical Command on all public affairs matters.
He was responsible for leading a multi-disciplinary team to coordinate internal and external communications, risk mitigation and crisis communication strategies, media relations and community relations activities, and employing public information and social media platforms to shape the Army Medicine narrative.
This is Michael’s second position at Fort Meade. From2015 to2017, he served as the commander of the 1st Medical Recruiting Battalion.
“I am honored and humbled by the amazing opportunity to serve and lead this great organization with such an important mission — providing the best health care to all of those entrusted to our care,” he said.
Michael begins his tenure at MEDDAC and Kimbrough with three objectives.
“My first overarching goal is to take care of people, caring for our staff and our patients,” he said. “Next, to organize our systems to improve the patient experience and outcomes. And, finally, to promote readiness in order to sustain the health of the force in support of our armed forces.”
A native of Brooklyn,New York, Michael has served more than 30 years in the Army. He enlisted in 1987 right out of high school to earn money for college.
He completed basic combat training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and advanced individual training at Fort Gordon, Georgia, as a 31M, Multichannel Communications Equipment operator.
Michael served for eight years as a signal Soldier and noncomissioned officer before being selected for a Green-to-Gold ROTC scholarship. In 1998, he graduated from the University of Washingtonin Seattle with a degree in biological anthropology and was commissionedin the Medical Service Corps.
He earneda master’s degree in business administration from the Indiana University, Kelley School of Business in 2006, and then was selected to attend the U.S. Army-Baylor University Masters in Health Care Administration Program. He graduated in 2008.
Most recently, Michael attended the National Defense University’s Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy and graduated with a master’s inNational Security and Resource Strategy in 2019.
Michael has served in command positions at various Army organizations including as a legislative liaison to Congress at the Office of the Chief of Legislative Liaison, HQDA; aide-de-camp to the 43rd surgeon general and commanding general, U.S. Army Medical Command; director of business development, Tricare Regional Office-South, San Antonio, Texas; and as battalion executive officer and later brigade support operations officer, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Vicenza, Italy.
Michael said his more than three decades of service with the Army has taught him a great deal about effective leadership. Those lessons, he said, have helped to shape his management style.
He describes himself as “an engaged leader” who “values people, building cohesive teams, initiatives, accountability and loyalty.”
“I’m friendly and even-tempered,” Michael said. “I like employing systems to ensure routine things are done routinely and I strive to inspire a culture of excellence wherever I go.
“I am positive, or at least I try to be, and a visionary, and always looking at ways to improve and help others to succeed.”