Naval Hospital Oak Harbor Holds Change of Command Ceremony

Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott Wood, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest

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OAK HARBOR, Wash. – Naval Hospital Oak Harbor (NHOH) held a change of command ceremony where Capt. Christine L. Sears relieved Capt. Frederick J. McDonald, July 7 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

McDonald assumed command in August of 2014. During McDonald’s tenure as NHOH’s commanding officer, he led changes such as the Medical Home Port outpatient facility, developed working partnerships with Whidbey Health and Island Hospital, and directed the adoption of a high reliability (zero patient harm) philosophy. The emphasis on quality and patient safety enabled numerous initiatives and provided staff the capability for improvements in care delivery, clinical processes, and personal processes to promote health, quality and value.

Recently, McDonald organized preparations for Military Health System Genesis, DoD’s new electronic health record, enabling NHOH to respond to demands for access, availability, entry, and portability of health information.

Despite McDonald’s extensive contributions to the hospital, his success was largely due to the hospital’s exceptional staff.

“The secret to NHOH’s success is our fantastic team of active duty, civilian and contract staff, who are privileged by the opportunity to participate in the lives of our patients. They are committed to ensuring NHOH is the best place to receive and give care.” McDonald said during the ceremony.

“They honored me by accepting my philosophy of “Patients First, Shipmates Always” and challenged me to provide tools necessary to meet those goals.”

McDonald enacted his deep gratitude by meritoriously promoting Seaman Faraimo J. Fuifui to Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class. Fuifui was evidently surprised by his look of shock as he walked on stage, unaware beforehand of his promotion.

Afterwards, McDonald gave his final farewell and introduced his relief.

“Capt. Sears inherits a great team of professionals, and I know she’ll be as honored and blessed as I’ve been. Most of all, I want to say thank you. This has been an exceptional tour and the team here is second to none.”

Sears, born in Norfolk, Va., graduated from Northwestern University Medical School in 1993 and completed her surgical internship at Naval Medical Center San Diego in 1994. Prior reporting to NHOH, Sears served as United States Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Fourth Fleet surgeon, providing medical oversight to all naval forces in Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

“I want to build on the innovation and great success shaped during Capt. McDonald’s command.” Sears stated.

Sears promised to continue the work of McDonald and to provide the highest quality healthcare available to all active duty, retired, and family beneficiaries that the staff at NHOH are privileged to serve.

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