Behind the Scenes of Military Medicine

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Lauren Cobin
Charged with providing radiologic imaging for 265K beneficiaries, managing a $3.5M archival system for eight tele-sites across the Department of Defense, all while training students to operate a $2M computed tomography machine, Senior Airman Kendra Ward is no stranger to the fast-paced world of military healthcare.

Kendra Ward stands out as a shining example of dedication, skill, and versatility. Serving as an X-ray and CT technologist while also managing the Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) at the 6th Medical Support Squadron, she plays a crucial role in ensuring the health and well-being of military personnel and their families across the DoD.

Ward's journey into the world of healthcare began with a strong desire to serve her country and make a meaningful impact on the lives of others.

After enlisting in the United States Air Force, she embarked on a rigorous training program to become a medical professional in the field of radiology. Her determination and commitment led her to specialize in X-ray and CT technology - areas that are vital in diagnosing and treating a wide range of medical conditions.

“I am forever grateful for getting this job,” said Ward. “The opportunities it grants us with being able to gain national registries to work in the civilian world is truly a blessing.”

As an X-ray and CT technician, Ward plays a pivotal role in the diagnostic process. She is responsible for capturing detailed images of the human body, allowing medical professionals to identify injuries, illnesses, and abnormalities. Her technical skills and attention to detail are critical in providing accurate and timely diagnoses, which are essential for effective patient care.

“She is proficient in radiation protection procedures, performing X-rays, dual X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans, and fluoroscopic studies,” said Tech. Sgt. Aleta Negron, diagnostic imaging flight chief with the 6th Medical Support Squadron. “She is also an expert at starting IVs to perform computed tomography (CAT scans/CT scans) involving intravenous and oral contrast.”

Ward also manages PACS, enabling healthcare professionals quick and secure access to medical images and patient data for more than 610K DoD beneficiaries. Her responsibilities include overseeing the maintenance of the PACS infrastructure, troubleshooting technical issues, and ensuring the security and confidentiality of patient data.

Her ability to provide accurate diagnostic images and ensure the accessibility of critical medical data significantly enhances the medical group's ability to deliver high-quality healthcare services.

“Senior Airman Ward is one of the humblest Airman you will ever meet,” explained Negron. “Her goal is to get the job done and to do it well. Ward embodies what it means to be a lifelong learner and never stops asking what she can do for her flight. She is a behind the scenes force that goes unnoticed until things begin to break, and you need her expertise. I am very proud of the Airman that Ward is and what she is to become.”

Kendra's dedication to her profession, her adaptability in managing multiple responsibilities and her commitment to excellence make her an exemplary asset to the Air Force. Her contributions not only impact the lives of patients but also contribute to the overall mission readiness of the military.

“The most rewarding part of my job is getting to help people,” said Ward. “Knowing that without imaging most patients would not be able to receive a diagnosis makes me want to create the best imaging possible in order for our patients to receive the best care they can.”

“Every single person plays such an important role in our flight and without all of their hard work and dedication we would not be able to operate and create the best care for our patient,” she emphasized.

As a dedicated and skilled medical professional, Ward embodies the core values of the United States Air Force: integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. Her unwavering commitment to these principles ensures that military personnel and their families receive the best possible care, making her a true asset to the 6th MDG and the broader military healthcare community.