Cannon airman recognized for clinical excellence

USAF: James Bell Capt. David Martinez of the 27th Special Operations Medical Dental Operations Squadron won the Air Force’s top award for medical personnel in February.

By Gabriel Monte: Cannon Connections

On paper, Capt. David Martinez’s name stands alone as the winner of the Air Force’s clinical excellence company-grade award. But Martinez, of the 27th Special Operations Medical Dental Operations Squadron, credits his award to the people he works alongside every day.

Martinez won the Air Force’s top award for medical personnel in February.

“It’s a very huge honor to receive one of these awards. It’s very difficult (to win),” said Martinez who competed against physicians Air Force wide to win the award.

But he said he would never have won the award if not for his squadron, who put together his nomination package while he was deployed for six months during the nomination period.

Airmen are nominated by squadron leadership, and each nominee competes at increasing levels within the Air Force, according to Cannon Public Affairs.

Martinez said he never thought he would make it past the AFSOC level of the competition, let alone win.

“I never would have even been considered for it had my direct leadership been so supportive,” said Martinez a family physician.

Martinez said he had always wanted to work in the medical field, and is the first physician among a family of financial professionals.

Martinez started his commission in the Air Force in 2005 after finishing medical school at Penn State through the military’s health professions scholarship program.

“I’ve gotten some phenomenal training,” he said.

Martinez said he was inspired to join the military by his father, an Army veteran.

Martinez provides a number of medical services to his patients which include airmen and their dependents. The squadron consists of about 40 personnel from doctors to medical technicians, according to Martinez who works with a team of four people consisting of a nurse, a physician assistant and medical technicians.

“The team concept is important to maximize (our efforts). It seems to be working out,” he said.

Martinez said he set his eyes on radiological oncology as a specialty in medical school but fell in love with family medicine during the rotation part of his training. He said he enjoys the spectrum of services his specialty provides.

“I love going to work every day. It’s something I need to do,” said Martinez, whose day begins around 6:30 a.m.

He said the challenge of his job comes from building trust with patients. To work through that, Martinez said he makes sure his patients know that they can reach him whenever they need him.

“The second time you do that for someone they know you’ll bend over backwards for them,” he said.