Rob Barth, MSN, MBA, RN, CEN, Director of Emergency Services, Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center, is now also a colonel in the United States Air Force Reserves. That’s a rank only two percent of Air Force officers achieve during their careers.
“This promotion is an honor and blessing, especially at this point in my military career,” says Barth. “I’m approaching 21 years of service and eligible for retirement. That makes the promotion even more significant to me.”
The promotion ceremony took place recently at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. During the ceremony, Shannon Barth – also a YRMC employee – removed the silver oak leaf cluster from her husband’s uniform and replaced it with the new silver eagle. This formalized the promotion from Lieutenant Colonel Barth to Colonel Barth.
During a separate ceremony later that day, Barth was named commander of the 624th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. In that role he will lead approximately 86 Air Force reservists and four active-duty airmen.
Barth’s new squadron has a dual of mission. It conducts medical exams on airmen, ensuring they are medically ready for deployment to any location worldwide. Additionally, the squadron must be prepared to set up a hospital anywhere in the world within 72 hours.
Years of Stellar Service
At age 36, Barth made a life-changing decision: He would serve his country by joining the Air Force Reserves. “I called the Air Force recruiting office the day after 9/11,” he says. “I wanted to do my part.”
Commissioned as an officer in 2002, Barth was assigned to the 944th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. He has served there for most of the past 20 years. Barth began his service at the squadron as a critical care and emergency/trauma nurse and concluded as the squadron’s deputy commander.
Barth has received numerous awards throughout his Air Force career. The two must important to him are the “944th Fighter Wing, 2004 Company Grade Officer of the Year” and the “Humanitarian Service Medal.” The latter recognized Barth’s role in helping evacuate Haitian citizens who were severely injured during the country’s 2010 earthquake.
A Military-Civilian Partnership
According to Tracey McCollum, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, CENP, YRMC’s Chief Nursing Executive Officer, both the community and YRMC have benefited from Barth’s service in the Air Force Reserves.
“Rob brings best practices from the military and applies them to his work at YRMC,” McCollum says. “The way we triage patients in the Emergency Department is a good example of that.”
She notes that Barth has also developed excellent leadership skills through his military service. This has created a strong, cohesive and high-functioning team in the Emergency Department.
The military also understands the benefits of the military-civilian partnership, according to Barth.
“The depth of experience reservists bring to their service is valued by the Air Force,” he says.
Words of Appreciation
Barth also values YRMC’s support of his military service.
“YRMC has always been extremely supportive of my military training time,” he says. “As an organization, YRMC is an excellent example of what a strong military-civilian partnership looks like.”
As McCollum says, YRMC’s team is proud of Barth’s service to our country.
“To be able to say that we have a colonel working in our four walls, is actually pretty great.”
Bridget O’Gara is a writer, communications strategist and project manager who specializes in healthcare. Bridget has spent her career writing about healthcare topics. She works with mission-driven healthcare organizations, including hospitals, other healthcare providers and advocacy organizations.