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AHA Honors Col. Jason Richter, Federal Health Care Leader

U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Richter, 31st Medical Support Squadron commander, poses for a photo at Aviano Air Base, Italy, May 19, 2021. Each year the American Hospital Association Special Achievement Award recognizes a federal health care leader who distinguished themselves through significant or innovative achievements and leadership that has contributed substantially to the mission of the federal health systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ericka A. Woolever)

U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Richter, 31st Medical Support Squadron commander, poses for a photo at Aviano Air Base, Italy, May 19, 2021. Each year the American Hospital Association Special Achievement Award recognizes a federal health care leader who distinguished themselves through significant or innovative achievements and leadership that has contributed substantially to the mission of the federal health systems. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ericka A. Woolever)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy --

U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Richter, 31st Medical Support Squadron commander, recently won the American Hospital Association (AHA) 2020 Special Achievement Award.

“All aspects of the federal health system serve thousands of patients each year and have done so much over the years to save lives, perform miracles and keep people healthy,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “We are honored to recognize Lieutenant Colonel Richter for [his] dedicated leadership, demonstrated resiliency and [his] integral role in fighting the battle against COVID-19 to ensure [his] patients are cared for.”

Each year the AHA 2020 Special Achievement Award recognizes a federal health care leader who distinguished themselves through significant or innovative achievements and leadership that has contributed substantially to the mission of the federal health systems.

“The American Hospital Association recognized the innovation and excellence of our team,” said Richter. “This is a tremendous honor, as there is only one recipient across all the different services.”

According to the AHA press release, Richter demonstrated exceptional leadership, innovation and teamwork. He pursued creative and lasting solutions to problems previously unsolved, and was also among the first in the U.S. Air Force to create a Chief Experience Officer position and lead efforts to create a telehealth program.

The AHA press release also explained how, at the epicenter of the world’s initial COVID-19 response, Richter guided his teams to a series of benchmark breakthroughs that were adopted at other facilities. Richter’s lab was the first U.S. Air Force military treatment facility with testing capabilities.

“Our team truly thinks differently, prepares to execute, and then argues for and gains funding to make those ideas a reality,” said Richter.

The drive for innovation began with the belief that empowered Airmen can solve any problem.

“It all started with [Brig. Gen. Daniel Lasica] and his advocacy for his commanders to lead without fear,” said Richter. “Then Col. Woodruff supported us to execute that vision. Leadership continues support and an outstanding group of enlisted, officers, [DOD employees], local national, and contractors made that happen and this award possible.”