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NMCCL Stories

News | Sept. 13, 2021

NMCCL physician wins Outstanding Young Pediatrician of the year, second consecutive year for NMCCL

By Michelle Cornell

One of Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune’s pediatricians has been recognized as the latest recipient of the American Academy of Pediatrics Uniformed Services – Chapter East Outstanding Young Pediatrician of the Year Award. U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Colleen Lail’s recognition marks the second consecutive year that NMCCL doctor has received the award.

Lail, a board-certified general pediatrician, has been working at NMCCL’s Pediatrics Clinic for three years. “I am very grateful to my leadership for the nomination and to the AAP Uniform Services Chapter East for the recognition,” states Lail. “It means the world to me.”

According to an article published by the AAP on their website, the Uniformed Services Section of the AAP has two Chapters with close to a 1,000 members working around the world in military facilities.

“The Uniform Services Chapter East and Chapter West, were created in 1981 to give uniformed pediatricians equal voice in the creation and modification of policy within the AAP,” the article reads. “The Section on Uniformed Services has been a vocal advocate for the children of military service members and the pediatricians who care for them in each of the last 6 decades.”

As a military member, military spouse, and mother, Lail understands personally the needs of military children and the challenges unique to the lifestyle.

“As a dual physician and dual active duty military household with four young children, I have always felt that I am underperforming in all areas in order to get the job done, despite my best efforts,” explains Lail. “This award is tangible evidence to me that my performance can be exceptional amidst the balancing act, and that my efforts are more than good enough; they are ‘outstanding’.”

So what does it take to win this prestigious award?

AAP selects Outstanding Young Pediatricians based on nominees’ accomplishments in several areas: clinical excellence, research productivity, and military leadership. The award recognizes outstanding commitment, dedication and going above and beyond normal duties. The award is presented annually to one service member each from the Navy, Army, and Air Force.

Lail, who started her pediatric career with an internship at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth in 2012, loves her career as a pediatrician for many reasons. “I love pediatrics because our patients are the best. They are silly and sassy and always bring a smile to my face,” she said. “I not only get the opportunity to help heal these patients on their worst days during illness or struggle, but I also get to watch them grow and thrive on their best days.”

Commander Sarah Sturgill won the award in 2020 while assigned as a pediatrician at the NMCCL Pediatrics Clinic.
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