(CAMDEN, NJ) – Recently, Cooper University Health Care was honored to host a retirement ceremony for Colonel Kirby R. Gross, MD, FACS, following 21 years of distinguished service as a U.S. Army trauma surgeon. Dr. Gross came to Cooper in 2020 when he was assigned to Cooper’s Division of Trauma Surgery and the Section of Military, Diplomatic, and Field Surgical Affairs as part of the Army Military-Civilian Trauma Team Training (AMCT3) Program.
“Colonel Kirby R. Gross has separated himself as an Army trauma surgeon through his exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service to the United States Army. During his 21 years of service, he has been at the forefront of military trauma development and combat medicine. We are honored to be gathered here today to honor and reflect on his distinguished contributions to the military and in medicine,” said Col. John Chovanes, DO, FACS, USAR, a surgeon in the Department of Surgery in the Division of Trauma, Acute Care Surgery, and Surgical Critical Care at Cooper, and founding medical director and chief surgeon of Cooper’s Section of Military, Diplomatic, and Field Surgical Affairs, who presided over the retirement ceremony.
At the ceremony, Dr. Gross reflected on his 21 years of service and highlighted the importance of military-civilian partnerships: “Military-civilian partnerships ensure that military providers maintain skills relevant to care required in the deployed environment. The partnerships have brought together military and civilian colleagues in a common effort to ensure optimal care is provided, no matter what the environment, home or abroad. In fact, the Cooper mission statement of ‘to serve, to heal, to educate’ is very similar to the efforts of the military health system.”
“I have greatly benefitted from my assignment at Cooper while in the Army,” Dr. Gross said. The true beneficiaries of military-civilian partnerships will be the wounded who receive care from my successors who have maintained their clinical readiness at Cooper.”
Dr. Gross has deployed 10 times, totaling more than five years of combat service. This has resulted in more than 300 operative cases in support of combat action within Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served not only with conventional forces as a medical asset but supported the Joint Special Operations Command as a member of the Joint Medical Augmentation Unit. In addition to his clinical roles, he has served as the Joint Theater Trauma System Director on two occasions, serving as an advisor to the US. Central Command (CENTCOM) surgeon among other leadership positions.
Dr. Gross has also helped to advance civilian trauma medicine. He is co-author of more than 50 peer reviewed articles, has written four book chapters, and is a frequent speaker and panelist on a national level. He served on the committee that developed the American College of Surgeons’ Military Trauma System manual and on a multitude of civilian professional medical societies.
At the ceremony, Dr. Gross received numerous commendations from dignitaries and elected officials, including a citation from former President George W. Bush, which read in part: “Thank you for your service in the United States Armed Forces. I am proud to have served as your first Commander in Chief, and I am pleased to join your friends and colleagues in recognizing your career and accomplishments. On behalf of a grateful nation, I thank you for your contributions to our security and to the cause of peace and freedom. Your service, patriotism and selfless devotion have helped advance the universal hope of liberty at home and around the world.”
Following his retirement from military services, Dr. Gross will remain on staff at Cooper as part of the Level 1 Trauma Center as well as an advisor to Cooper’s Section of Military, Diplomatic, and Field Surgical Affairs.
About Cooper University Health Care’s Section of Military, Diplomatic, and Field Surgical Affairs
Cooper serves as the only Level I Trauma Center for all of southern New Jersey and is one of the busiest trauma centers in the region. Due to its high-volume trauma center and expertise in surgery and critical care, Cooper is the only hospital in the United States that has trained elite medical providers from every military branch; multiple local, state, and federal government agencies; and international partners.
In 2019, Cooper became the first hospital in the nation to establish the AMCT3 program and later that year became one of only three hospitals nation to provide specialized medical training to active duty and reserve personnel from all branches of the U.S. military as part of the SMART (Strategic Medical Asset Readiness Training) initiative. For more information visitcooperhealth.org/coopermilitary.