On war and medicine: In every single war there are innovations made medically. Before the Civil War there were no medical records; WWI gave rise to blood transfusions; during WWII there was the use of penicillin; during the Korean and Vietnam wars, there were helicopter evacuations; the battlefield advances filter through to the larger community.
During this war, I think there are new ways of stopping hemorrhage, which is the No. 1 cause of preventable death on the combat field. Additionally, medical advancements in patient transport have evolved; now patients are basically transported in flying intensive care units.
On veterans' health: Those soldiers could be your next-door neighbor, your sibling, your friends, or you. It's important for society to know what these hundreds of soldiers go through and how they adjust to society.
On leadership: As a healthcare executive, you are packing people's parachutes and you are making a difference even though you might not always see it. When you are in that leadership role, there's a multiplier effect. The people you affect go out and do their thing and you can really make an impact.
This article appears in the January 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
Anna Webster is a contributing writer for HealthLeaders Media.