Letterman Institute Alumni

The Letterman Institute Alumni Association is the gathering space for anyone who has attended a Letterman Institute Program. You can also visit the Letterman Institute Alumni Facebook page for more articles and info!




23 April 2014 – Letterman Award Nominations!

Please look around and see those who should be honored!  There are innovators in every corner!  Nomination forms are available by following the link below.

The 8th Annual Major Jonathan Letterman Award Dinner will be October 8! Save the date.

Our keynote speaker: Justin Constantine


While on a routine combat patrol, Justin was shot in the head by a sniper. Although the original prognosis was that he had been killed in action, Justin survived. Through teamwork and a positive mental attitude, he has had quite a successful recovery. Justin now speaks to audiences about personal leadership, the critical role of teamwork in facing life’s challenges, and the upside of change.






17 April 2015  Letterman Lecture series!!!

Weina Speech

Here’s your chance to meet some of your incredible colleagues and hear what they’ve got to say!   Friday Afternoons, 4pm – knock off a little early to come and enjoy!





7 April 2015

The National Museum of Civil War Medicine invites you to participate in our Letterman Lecture Series.  The lectures in this series will be given by those who have been honored or nominated to receive the Letterman Medical Excellence Award. These nominees and honorees are those whose work will have long lasting impact on the direction of medicine in the future. A question and answer period will be offered after each presentation. Museum exhibits will also remain open after the programs.  Lecture will be Friday afternoon at 4pm at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office, located on 7th street in Washington, D.C.  Military, civilians, doctors, history fans and curious learners are welcome.

 Friday, April 10 – Dr. Peter J. Weina, MD FACS Infectious Diseases, treatments and prevention through American Military History.

Held at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office, 437 7tth Street NW, Washington DC 20004.

Dr. Weina, Chief of the Department of Research Programs at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and 2014 winner of the Letterman Award for Medical Excellence will present on the history of infectious diseases, their prevention and treatments throughout the history of the US Military.Dr. Weina is a 2014 Letterman Award for Medical Excellence winner and has worked worldwide to stamp out several tropical diseases.

 For more information, please visit our website at http://www.civilwarmed.org/event/letterman-lecture-series/?instance_id=5048 or contact Katie Reichard at Letterman@civilwarmed.org  or 301-695-1864 ex. 1010.

 If driving to DC, the closest parking garage entrance is located on East Street NW, between 6th and 7th Streets NW

CBMSO is 1 1/2 blocks North of Archives Metro (YELLOW and GREEN LINES) and 1 1/2 blocks South of Gallery Place/Chinatown, Verizon Center (RED, YELLOW and GREEN LINES)

 The Letterman Lecture Series is presented by the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.








6 April 2015

Information on the clinical trials of the Ebola Vaccine – Our friends at WRAIR have been busy!  http://wrair-www.army.mil/Lab_Function_5.aspx?id=HomeNews









27 March 2015

Nanoparticle Therapy Promotes Wound Healing, Albert Einstein College of Medicine Study — Letterman would have given his eye teeth to be able to speed up healing on his soldiers!


Imaging of burns indicates that those treated with the FL2 inhibitor nanotechnology experienced collagen deposition and hair follicle formation. (2-photo confocal microscopy).<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
CREDIT: Vera DesMarais/Albert Einstein College of Medicine

CREDIT: Vera DesMarais/Albert Einstein College of Medicine



18 March 2015

10 medical advancements form the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.   War often serves as a catalyst for change and innovation. Nowhere is this more true than in the medical field…..http://taskandpurpose.com/10-medical-advancements-from-the-iraq-and-afghanistan-wars/


Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, left, listens to a briefing about prosthetics technology from representatives from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency April 22, 2014, at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. (DoD photo by Sgt. Aaron Hostutler, U.S. Marine Corps/Released)

Photo: Task & Purpose




25 February 2015

Letterman could only have dreamed of this….Scientists are interested in using gels to deliver drugs because they can be molded into specific shapes and designed to release their payload over a specified time period. However, current versions aren’t always practical because must be implanted surgically. Read the rest of the story: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150219141340.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29



18 February 2015

Amazing!  More innovations in Prosthetics!

Baoding balls are two metal balls that are rotated over and over again in one hand for meditation, exercise or rehab purposes. A lot of dexterity and focus and strength is necessary to pull of the rotation. Not everyone can do it! This robotic arm controlled by wires can though. Look at those fake flexible fingers move. http://sploid.gizmodo.com/robotic-hand-made-of-wires-is-flexible-enough-to-rotate-1686191527

Robotic hand made of wires is flexible enough to rotate meditation balls




11 February 2015

Haptix starts work to provide prosthetic hands with sense of touch — Despite recent advances in technology for upper-limb prostheses, artificial arms and hands are still unable to provide users with sensory feedback, such as the “feel” of things being touched or awareness of limb position and movement. Without this feedback, even the most advanced prosthetic limbs remain numb to users, a factor that impairs the limbs’ effectiveness and their wearers’ willingness to use them.  The rest of the story is here: http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2015/02/08.aspx

DARPA’s Hand Proprioception and Touch Interfaces (HAPTIX) program aims to develop fully implantable, modular and reconfigurable neural-interface systems that would enable intuitive, dexterous control of advanced upper-limb prosthetic devices. In a major step toward achieving these goals, DARPA has awarded prime contracts for Phase 1 of HAPTIX.To help HAPTIX performers more quickly and effectively conduct their research, DARPA is providing each team with open source simulation software in which to test their designs. The software includes a variant of the DARPA Robotics Challenge Simulator from the June 2013 Virtual Robotics Challenge, the first stage of the DARPA Robotics Challenge. 

Images courtesy www.darpa.mil




4 February 2015

Thanks TATRC for the head’s up on Eve.  “Robot scientists are a natural extension of the trend of increased involvement of automation in science. ”  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150203204453.htm

Eve, the Robot Scientist.
Credit: University of Manchester




28 January 2015

Thanks to the folks at TATRC (2013 Letterman Award Winners) for the head’s-up on this article.  It looks like battlefield extractions will be brought to a new level in the near future! Not even in Letterman’s wildest dreams could he have imagined something like this!



Photo and article taken from Extremetech.com



21 January 2015

Genetic Glue?  3D organ printing? NO, that’s not shaving cream below -  Great little story from engadget:


Gel held together by DNA 'glue'


Note: 2 of our Letterman Award Nominees from 2014 worked in Regenerative Medicine.  Don’t forget to nominate someone who is also doing amazing things for the 2015 Letterman Award!




13 January 2015

 A great little story from Mental-floss:

As it turns out, the bloodiest war in American history was also one of the most influential in battlefield medicine. Civil War surgeons learned fast, and many of their MacGyver-like solutions have had a lasting impact. Here are some of the advances and the people behind them.  http://mentalfloss.com/article/31326/5-medical-innovations-civil-war



 5 January 2015

Rear Adm. Rebecca McCormick-Boyle is a graduate of the Letterman Institute Capstone Program -  take a moment to read a tribute to Navy Nurses she wrote: http://navymedicine.navylive.dodlive.mil/archives/7854

 MCCormick Boyle B

story and photo from navymedicine.com


17 December 2014

While this article is a year old, the topic is timely.  Some of the advancements that  BG Coots mentions have happened – some we’re still waiting to see.  As we near the ending of 2014, a look back is beneficial.  It’s amazing how quickly time flies in the military medical world – how quickly advances are made, and how much is still needed.  http://www.army.mil/article/112860/Military_medical_advances_in_combat_can_help_civilians_at_home/

Joint Hospital caring for war-fighters, Afghans

Army Capt. Andrew Kontowicz, left, a nurse assigned to the 452nd Combat Support Hospital, and Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Davis Williams, an internal medicine doctor assigned to the 452nd CSH, with the help of an Afghan nurse conduct an assessment of a patient medically evacuated from the Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Airfield, May 12, to Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan.   (taken from www.army.mil)

 Note: we’ll be taking a holiday break – see you in January!



10 December 2014

Dr. Gary Gilbert, Lab Director for TATRC’s Operational Telemedicine Lab chaired the Battlefield Medical Informatics Workshop at the Special Operations Medical Association’s Scientific Assembly and Exhibition in Tampa, FL. The panel discussed the historical background and context for previous projects of prehospital electronic medical record systems as well as a civilian perspective on this topic. The talk will also covered the DoD wide Electronic Health Record Modernization project and the charge of further inclusion of prehospital (role 1-3) systems and highlighted ongoing projects, innovations, and research in this area.

Dr. Gilbert is a Two time nominee for the Maj Jonathan Letterman Award for Medical Excellence and will be speaking here at the NMCWM in October as part of the Letterman Lecture series.

photo and story credit – TATRC (Facebook)



4 December 2014

Robotic Walkers! Physical Therapy takes on a new twist – The body sensors provide feedback on the patient’s gait to the robot so it can adjust the amount of support to help the patient walk more normally. Read a quick synopsis by Joshua Chen in this MedGadget article  http://www.medgadget.com/2014/11/robotic-walker-for-improved-rehabilitation.html

novelrobotic Robotic Walker for Improved Rehabilitation








24 November 2014

 Robots? Ebola?The US military has enlisted a new germ-killing weapon in the fight against Ebola—a four-wheeled robot that can disinfect a room in minutes with pulses of ultraviolet light. (Thanks TATRC for the head’s up on this one!)


Enlarge A scanning electron micrograph of Ebola virus budding from a cell (African green monkey kidney epithelial cell line). Credit: NIAID



21 November 2014

Little things that can change the world – it seems like in the very near future MEDLOG will have this in every IFAK.  Super-human-glue!  Imagine if our predecessors had access to this – how the numbers of wounded/dead would be so very different.


Startup creates VetiGel, a plant based polymer that seals wounds in seconds

Photo from: medicalxpress.com



18 November 2014

Read about Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) – a program very similar to the programs over at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune Warrior Rehabilitation Project.



photo from Navymedicinelive.com


14 November 2014

Wow!  Microrobots? Scallops? Definitely reads like science fiction, but it’s real and it’s anything but fiction! 

Microrobots that can independently swim within the body may one day help diagnose conditions and to treat diseases by traveling to areas that conventional technology simply can’t reach.

Click the link to read the rest of the story  http://www.medgadget.com/2014/11/tiny-robots-mimic-scallops-to-swim-through-bodily-fluids-video.html

micro scallop Tiny Robots Mimic Scallops to Swim Through Bodily Fluids (VIDEO)









10 November 2014

USAMRMC Logistics Mission for Ebola – taken from MRMC Facebook page

Behind the Operation United Assistance mission to respond to the Ebola virus outbreak worldwide is a massive interagency logistics effort spanning several continents.  While it has not received as much media attention as other aspects of the Ebola relief effort, logistics are sustaining every aspect from troop movement to materiel for building field hospitals to additional health care workers and community care kits. Click the link to read more…



4 November 2014

Thank you Navy Medicine Live for a great article! 

Editors note: Dr. Madelaine Paredes wants to inspire future women and minority scientists to pursue their goals. Her perseverance in research will contribute to continuing improvements in the quality of treatment of our wounded warriors. Follow her dedicated journey from her native Colombia to research at NAMRU-SA. – See more at: http://navymedicine.navylive.dodlive.mil/archives/7413#sthash.aJGRjYCS.dpuf

Dr. Paredes at computerA Header


25 October 2014

The 7th Annual Major Jonathan Letterman Award for Medical Excellence took place on October 23, 2014 at the Bethesda North Marriott. COL Peter J. Weina was awarded the individual Letterman Award after being nominated for three years in a row. The United States Army Institute of Surgical Research (USAISR) was named the organizational Letterman Award.

In keeping with the innovative style of Maj Jonathan Letterman, all of this year’s nominees work to advance medical care and conditions for our fighting troops, wounded warriors and civilian population. Few outside the military know of the existence of these nominees whose work is advancing medicine in ways previously only imagined in Science Fiction.

2014 Individual Recipient


Peter J. Weina, PhD, MD, FACP, FIDSA

COL Weina is the Chief of the Department of Research Programs overseeing the Nation’s lead Department of Defense teaching hospital research program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He is responsible for all graduate medical education research and the oversight of more than 1200 active clinical human use protocols at any given time across a variety of medical specialties. He also maintains the oversight for the scientific, administrative, and ethical review of all the active research at Walter Reed.  He is the Scientific Lead for the Intravenous Artensunate Integrated Integrated Product Team and Director of the Leishmania Diagnostics Laboratory.

 2014 Organizational Recipient



The U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research is one of six research laboratories within the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command of the U.S. Army Medicine Command. The Institute is the Army’s lead research laboratory for improving the care of combat casualties. The mission of the Institute is to “Optimize Combat Casualty Care”.  The USAISR does this through three unique missions:

  1. to provide requirements driven innovations in combat casualty care to advance medical care for injured service members

  2. as the only burn center in the DoD provide state of the art burn, trauma and critical care to injured war fighters and DoD beneficiaries around the world

  3. through the Joint Trauma System provide a performance improvement system dedicated to ensuring that medical care is organized according to the needs of the patient.


For more information or to nominate for the 2015 Letterman Award:




14 October 2014

A note from our Executive Director:





19 September 2014

A great article from Slate.com – regenerative medicine.  Dr. Anthony Atala at Wake Forest has connections with the 2010 Letterman Award Recipient COL (R) Robert Vandre.Saving and improving lives is so very different than it was 150 years ago!





Photo: Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine/ Slate.com



9 September 2014

7th Annual Letterman Dinner is coming up fast! Reserve your seats now!






12 August 2014

Shared by the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) on their Facebook page

Called by some the Bob Hope of this generation, Robin Williams gave back to our troops over the years by traveling to many USO shows in 13 countries, entertaining countless troops while deployed in harsh conditions. His unfortunate death is a great loss, but hopefully will serve as a reminder to our own Soldiers and Family members dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts, that there is a way out. If you or someone you know is dealing with any symptoms of depression, please don’t hesitate to contact your chain of command, a medical professional, chaplain, or call the national crisis line at: 800-273-TALK (8255). You can find more resources for dealing with this very real problem at http://www.militaryonesource.mil/crisis-prevention




25 July 2014

Pretty amazing rehab taking place in this era – our new exhibit talks about after the war was over, but I bet they never dreamed that soldiers wounded in battle would be up to these types of programs!


Therapy in the NMCSD C5 facility.

Thanks to Navy Medicine live for the link and photo


15 July 2014

Thanks, TATRC for pointing us in the direction of this article.  These guys need to be nominated for a Letterman Award, too!  Instead of using cadavers, using 3d printed body parts – a whole new spin on learning.


Michelle Qualye is pictured with part of the “3D Printed Anatomy Series” thought to be the first commercially available resource of its kind.

Photo and link:  WWW.rdmag.com



2 July 2014

Thinking back to the days of Letterman, this would have seemed an impossible dream!  While it’s bulky now, imagine what the next generations are going to look like – dreaming and imagining is vital to growing!


ReWalk exoskeleton ReWalk Exoskeleton System Cleared by FDA for Home Use

Photo and link: Medgadget – thank you to TATRC for highlighting.



23 June 2014

Google Glass could really change the face of healthcare, and not just in appearance!  20 years ago, this technology seemed like it belonged in a sci-fi novel… now, it’s almost commonplace.




13 June 2014

Navy Medicine brings you this memory… Letterman’s plan once again in action!  If you’ve ever been on a Letterman program, you’ll know why this is so important to know!


D Day banner


9 June 2014

Wow!!! We’ve heard about the technological advances that are being made in the regeneration and casualty care fields – but this takes the cake.  3D printing of a hip joint, implanted with a graft seeded with stem cells!  The saying “the future is now” was never more accurate!


3d stem cell hip 3D Printed Titanium Hip Combined with Stem Cell Graft Implanted Into UK Patient

photo from medGadget.com


6 June 2014

A great article  pointed to us from our friends at TATRC.  What a meeting this must have been!  Leadership meeting looking to the future of Army Medicine – can’t wait to hear more about the performance triad.





Antietam Full Day Letterman

Capstone program at Antietam


5 June 2014

A great Beetle Bailey strip by comic strip author Mort Walker – this article is taken from Soldiers Magazine – if you haven’t taken a gander at this story, it’s a good one!  PTSD, a tough topic, and it ties in with our travelling exhibit on the Emotional Toll…


Photo taken from Veteranstoday.com



23 May 2014

Wow!  An amazing blog about a woman’s journey in military medicine, filled with insight and understanding. (Some of us here at the Institute will admit to shedding a tear at the last couple of paragraphs.)


Physician Assistant Lt. Sarah Browning and Rambo, a camp dog she adopted while deployed

(Photo courtesy of Naval Health Clinic Hawaii) – See more at: http://navymedicine.navylive.dodlive.mil/archives/2943#sthash.80tlZeDm.dpuf



20 May 2014


Army lauds reservist who gave first aid to fellow Franklin Regional students

This www.stripes.com article shows how good training starts early and saves lives!



Also found on TribLive:




13 May 2014

Thanks TATRC (2013 Winners of the Letterman Award for Medical Excellence) for this great link!

More than half of US hospitals use remote technology! watch this video from the Wall Street Journal for more information:



and these two as well:

Doubleday would approve of this robotic arm!



This Arm is a long way from the mechanical arms of the 1860s!





9 May 2014 

The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is seeking your nominations for the Seventh Annual Major Jonathan Letterman Award for Medical Excellence.  The award honors an individual and/or entity that has made an outstanding contribution to improving medical processes and patient outcomes, continuing the legacy of Dr. Letterman.                                                          

Potential nominees for the 2014 award could include:                                                                                                                                                                                                 

  • individuals,  
  • military units or entities,
  • companies,
  • organizations or
  • project groups

Nominees are to be leading innovative efforts in civilian emergency care,  combat casualty care, prosthetic technology, improving outcomes for patients with catastrophic injuries, or leveraging today’s cutting edge medical technology to develop new ways to assist Armed Forces members or civilians who have suffered severe disfiguring wounds.  These are just a few examples of worthy reasons for nominating. If you have any questions regarding nominations, please contact us.

Please submit nominations along with any supporting material no later than May 31, 2014.   Follow the link below to find the Nomination Forms:



 8 May 2014

A slowly evolving form of treatment, animal therapy is used in only a few other Army installations, including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. A small number of dogs like Lexy are being used almost as co-therapists. Others routinely work as service animals and are often used for animal-assisted therapy, including in visits to patients in the hospitals.

Chalk it up as another great innovation in the mental health field.


for the rest of the story…



3 May 2014

Cigar and Whiskey Night a Successful Event

May 3 saw numerous Letterman Alumni and faculty at the Antietam Ironworks for the 3rd Annual Spring Cigar and Whiskey event.  Every participant received 3 cigars and a Letterman shot glass with which to taste several whiskeys, ryes and bourbons.  Needless to say, a favorite was “Rebel Yell”.

See if you can pick out the General in the pic below!




30 April 2014

In her last moments of life, Army nurse Capt. Jennifer Moreno heard two orders.
One was a call to help a wounded soldier struck by a blast in a booby-trapped killing field at an Afghanistan bomb-making compound.
The other was a command to stay put lest she strike another mine in the bomb belt.
The nurse from Madigan Army Medical Center chose to help the wounded soldier, and gave her life trying.

We wanted to help share Captain Moreno’s story because she shared the value that all military medical professionals have. Past, present, and future. Save the soldier, save the country. And for that, she gave “The last full measure of devotion.”

Frederick Patients after the Battle of Antietam

Search through our list below of patients that were treated in Frederick after the Battle of Antietam.