Medical Officer awarded Latina Distinguished Service Award

The award is for personnel, who, through their service have enhanced the role of Latinas in their organization

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kayla Jo Finley
Navy News 

NORFOLK, Va. — The deputy surgeon medical officer from Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic (SURFLANT) received the 2012 Latina Style Distinguished Service Award, Sept. 6 at the Latina Style Magazine 9th Annual National Symposium in Washington, D.C.

The award is for personnel, who, through their service have enhanced the role of Latinas in their organization. One active duty service member from each branch and Department of Defense employees are recognized for their leadership, and display of exceptional character while representing the Hispanic community with dignity and pride.

Lt. Cmdr. Danielle Villa-Lobos Hicks was selected as the U.S. Navy's awardee for her service as the assistant patient administration specialty leader at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP).

"Lt. Cmdr Hicks is a leader among all naval officers and is truly a remarkable advocate who has placed the patient first," said Hicks specialty leader, Capt. Mary Jenkins. "She has attained an unprecedented level of expertise as a naval officer and as a patient administrator by dedicating herself in support of our deployed Sailors and the medical departments afloat."

In 2012, Hicks initiated the first Wounded, Ill and Injured Program at NMCP and assisted in the design of a state-of-the-art Wounded Warrior Patriots' Inn. This facility provides transitional living areas consisting of private, hotel-like rooms rather than hospital rooms. These rooms allow service members to heal in a relaxing environment equipped with handicapped accessible showers and personal computers, so service members can maintain contact with friends and family members. The facility also has administrative spaces that provide a centralized one-stop shop for members.

The idea for the facility started in 2010 when hospitals first began to be overwhelmed by wounded warriors.

"We wanted to find a way to bring patients closer to home," said Hicks. "By moving away from a traditional hospital-style room, warriors are now healing in a soothing and family-centered environment."

Hicks' father, a Navy chief, along with her desire to help others was what influenced her to join the Navy as a medical officer.

"My father instilled the values of service to our nation and cultural pride in me at an early age," said Hicks. "His dedication shaped my understanding of military service."

Currently, Hicks serves as the deputy surgeon for SURFLANT. She provides medical support and oversight to 84 operational seafaring platforms projecting sea power and providing security and stability across the globe.

"My culture is the center of my personal and professional successes because it provides me a unique perspective on how diverse and culturally competent organizations succeed," said Hicks. Those needing guidance benefit most from leaders that understand and embrace culturally concordant, servant leadership. I am proud to be one of those leaders."

Hicks's actively participates in the Local Chapter of the Autism Society and volunteers as a cheerleading coach at a local Catholic school. As a cheerleading coach, Hicks teaches young girls the importance of body image, physical and spiritual fitness and how to foster long-lasting friendship.

"It feels good to win this award. My heritage fills me with pride and ensures that I remain grounded no matter what personal and professional success I attain," said Hicks.