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Preparing to Soar Even Higher

Air Force Colonel builds on health care leadership

Sherry Hemby
Chief, Current Operations Division, Office of Command Surgeon, US Air Force Reserve

Vanderbilt MM Health Care 2015

By any measure, Colonel Sherry Hemby is a health care expert. A nurse by training, she has more than two decades of emergency department experience. After receiving her military commission in 1992, she attended Aeromedical Evacuation school and qualified as a Flight Nurse, moving up through leadership positions at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

On September 11, 2001, she prepared the civilian emergency department at a nearby hospital to receive casualties from the terrorist attack on the Pentagon. They assessed and stabilized 25 victims of the attack.

Sherry went on to deploy six times to Afghanistan and Iraq, including a combat command of an Aeromedical Evacuation unit. Now, as a reserve officer, she leads a 180-member squadron that deploys highly trained medical personnel to support the Air Force’s Enroute Patient Staging System (EPRSS).

Even with all of the clinical experience and the leadership skills she honed in the military, Sherry believed she needed to learn more. “I sought a program that would give me the financial skills to analyze and lead a medical organization most effectively,” says the Tennessee native, who currently resides in Brentwood.

The program exceeded her high expectations. “The personal leadership coach validated skills and gave me powerful insight into fine-tuning other skills. Finance formulas, capacity, utilization, throughput, cycle time, rate of return, present value: these are just a few terms that have a whole new meaning for me. Now I can state what I think needs to be done for my organization from a strategic standpoint, and I know how to back up those decisions with financial data and analysis. The MMHC will make me competitive for Medical Group Commander in the Air Force and for various roles in the civilian sector.”

Dinner with a friend crystallized the value of Sherry’s new knowledge and skills. “We were discussing concepts I was learning in the program,” she says. “By the end of the evening, he wanted me to be a consultant for his company.”