By Lisa Johnson, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs
Nelson Mandela, Condoleezza Rice, Rudolph Giuliani and Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert are just a few of the noteworthy individuals who have stood center stage at the National Press Club (NPC) in Washington, D.C. And as of Oct. 11, a U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) employee and Washington, D.C. native has also shared this honor.
Kirsten Woodward, furloughed at the time, was in her Alexandria home when she received a call from ABC7/WJLA-TV informing her that she had been selected as a 2013 Toyota Tribute to Working Women Honoree.
“I was surprised, honored and humbled,” said Woodward.
For the past 19 years, ABC7/WJLA-TV and the Washington area Toyota dealers have been honoring women in the Washington metropolitan area that are making a difference at home, work and in the community.
Woodward is the Family Programs Division head director for BUMED responsible for management, oversight and collaboration of military family psychological health programming, which includes Project FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress). Woodward is also a subject matter expert in the field of clinical social work with an emphasis on PTSD and family trauma.
“This is just my job,” said Woodward. “I do what I do because I love what I do.”
In 2008, BUMED contracted with the UCLA Semel Institute to implement Project FOCUS at nine U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps installations.
In 2009, Project FOCUS was expanded to include 14 sites, including the U.S. Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment. In September 2009,
Project FOCUS was made available to U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force families at designated installations through support from the Department of Defense Office of Military Community and Family Policy.
“This program is really about serving one big family, because family readiness is service member readiness,” said Woodward. “I am always humbled by my work. It’s emotional, but always meaningful.”
The one thing Woodward and her fellow Working Women honorees have in common is the capacity to care and they are making a positive difference in the lives of others.
“The knowledge we gained at FOCUS helped our family through two consecutive deployments and we have even found some of the exercises tremendously useful during the transition of an overseas PCS move,” said Allison Paul, a military spouse introduced to FOCUS as her husband embarked on his third deployment. “The FOCUS program is great because it can be tailored to meet the needs of individual families and we would rank it as one of the most important programs for military families.”
Although Woodward isn’t the Mayor of New York City or the head of the U. S. Navy, her contribution will continue to help change the world for many for years to come.