Keesler Medical Center named best in AF Published Feb. 22, 2018 81st Training Wing Public Affairs KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- The Air Force Surgeon General awarded the Keesler Air Force Base Medical Center the coveted ‘Hospital of the Year’ distinction last week. "Chief [Julie] Bottroff and I are so proud of our Dragon Medics,” said Col. Jeannine Ryder, 81st Medical Group commander. “This is a team sport and we did it together. I'm so thankful for my medics' expertise, leadership, followership, professionalism and compassionate care." The 81st MDG operates one of the largest Air Force medical facilities in the Air Force, caring for more than 25,000 patients, including 8,500 active duty members. Competing hospitals were judged across four categories: full spectrum readiness, integrated operational support, Air Force medical home and trusted care. The 81st MDG’s proficiency in all four categories set them apart and, ultimately, they brought home the trophy. During 2017, the medical group responded to numerous crises and natural disasters. They managed to triage 44 passengers after a train struck a bus near the base, and transported them to a higher echelon of care in under an hour, according to the award package. Days after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, their critical care air transport teams forward deployed to support rescue and recovery efforts in Texas and Florida. Furthermore, the Public Health Clinic ensured the safety and wellbeing of the nearly 3,000 students temporarily assigned to Keesler when they identified and treated the Norovirus emerging in the dormitories. With a daily load of 615 appointments, 113 outpatient procedures, and 100 emergency room visits, Keesler’s medical center manages one of the busiest hospitals in the Defense Department.