Michael Hartford - US Navy - Ellenton, FL

Education and Training Accomplishments:

  1. ​Member/Fellow/Life Fellow – American College of Healthcare Executives (1991- Pre)
  2. Ongoing Continuing Medical Education Courses – ACHE (1991 -Present)
  3. Member/Fellow – American Academy of Medical Administrators (1991-2013)
  4. Member and Presenter, Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS) (1986-2013)
  5. Navy Reserve Advanced Management Seminar (2010)
  6. Navy Leadership Course for Officer Training Course Facilitators (2003)
  7. Navy Health Promotions Certification Course, Norfolk, VA (1997)
  8. Post Graduate Studies – Interagency Institute for Federal Healthcare Executives – The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. (1991)
  9. Healthcare Executive Residency – VA Chief Operating Officer Training Program, Long Beach, CA (1990-1991)
  10. Leadership VA – Class of 1991 (Life Member VA Leadership Alumni Association)
  11. Adjunct Professor, California State Long Beach (1992-1995)
  12. Master’s Degree in Health Administration (M.H.A), University of LaVeme, LaVeme, CA(1989)
  13. Navy Reserve Officer Indoctrination Training Course, Pensacola, FL (1986)
  14. Bachelor’s Degree in Health Administration (B.S.), Northeastern University, Boston, MA (1983)
  15. Healthcare Administrative Residency – Department of Veterans Affairs (V A), Service Chief Training, Salt Lake City, UT (1983-1984)
  16. USAF Postal Courier Tech School, Keesler AFB, Biloxi, MS (1975)
  17. USAF Basic Training, Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX (1974)

Professional or Employment History:Military 1974 – 2013:

Michael retired from an active duty assignment at Defense Health Headquarters, Falls Church, VA as a Navy Captain (06) in 2013. Since 1974 he served as a Non-Commissioned Officer in the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Army National Guard prior to being commissioned a Navy Ensign in 1986.

As an Airman in the USAF from 1974-1978 he was initially assigned to Kinchloe AFB in MI and then transferred to Hanscom AFB in MA. He was selected Below the Zone to Senior Airman and was identified as Airman of the Quarter in 1976. He was by name requested to participate in the USAF Hasty Rap Program and was detailed back to his home town to assist the USAF Recruiting Command’s recruiting efforts. During his detail recruiting quotas exceeded 300% and he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal. He transitioned to the Air Force Reserve and then the Air National Guard and National Guard from 1984-1986.

In 1986 he was commissioned a Navy Ensign and proceeded to have a lengthy career in the Navy and Navy Reserve until retiring from active duty in 2013. He was mobilized in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1991 and was recalled, mobilized or placed on active duty for special work for a majority of time from 1999-2013. Active and Reserve assignments in Florida included Officer in Charge (OIC), Navy Hospital Detachments 1 and H located at Navy Operational Support Centers in St. Petersburg and MacDill AFB; Director for Administration, Navy Hospital, Jacksonville; OIC Southeast Region, Navy’s Center for Leadership and as the Senior Ranking Liaison Officer with Navy Safe Harbor/Wounded Warrior assigned to MacDill AFB and working primarily at the Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center (PRC), James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital, Tampa, FL.

While assigned to the PRC he was requested by VA to be the primary point of contact for all wounded, injured and ill service members and their families. He worked closely with uniformed and civilian staff from Special Operations Command, the Marine Wounded Warrior Regiment, and the Army and Air Force Warrior Care Programs to ensure all the needs of hospitalized service members and their families were appropriately identified and addressed in a timely manner.

He was also requested by the Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, Retired Navy RADM Leroy Collins, and VISN 8 to participate in an initiative to utilize retired federal healthcare providers who reside in Florida to treat Floridians in rural areas where there were gaps in medical services. Regrettably RADM Collins was accidentally killed in a tragic accident in 2010.

As a result of his efforts to bridge gaps between VA and DOD there were major improvements in sharing pertinent medical information between agencies throughout the 9000 miles of care from the outset of injury in-theater through acute care followed by long-term rehabilitation. He wrote several paragraphs on wounded warrior care management that were include in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, received a Certificate of Appreciation by VA, recognized by the Tampa Chapter of the Military Officer’s Association of America (MOAA) for his superb continual support for Operation Helping Hand and earned a Meritorious Service Medal.

Michael’s last assignment was as Deputy Director for Navy Reserve Medicine assigned to Defense Health Headquarters in Falls Church, VA. He had operational and training responsibility for approximately 7000 Navy Reservists who were Hospital Corpsmen, Nurses, Physicians, Dentists, Scientists, Researchers and Healthcare Administrators during the highest operational tempo since WWII. He worked in a joint command environment to identify the medical needs, supplies and infrastructure for in-theater medical expeditionary forces and at Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center. Under his leadership he was instrumental in identifying and mobilizing medical personnel with the right skill sets at the right time resulting in survival rates of 99% for service members who sustained catastrophic and life threatening traumatic injuries. Upon completion of his three-year assignment he earned the President’s Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services.
​Civilian Career 1978 – Present:

Michael received a veteran readjustment appointment as a medical clerk at the Boston VA immediately following his four years of active duty in the Air Force. Using the G.I. Bill he went to school full-time in the evenings and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1983. He received three promotions at the Boston VA during that time and was selected to complete a VA administrative residency at the Salt Lake City VA. He was also a drilling reservist and guardsman assigned to the 101st Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Otis ANG Base.

Upon completion of his VA administrative residency Michael was selected as the Assistant Chief, Medical Administration Service (MAS) at the Prescott VA in Arizona. He also transitioned to the Army National guard as an E-5 and served as an Ammunitions Specialist. In 1986 he completed applications for a commission in the Air Force and Navy and accepted a commission as an Ensign in the Navy Reserve.

He was selected as Chief, MAS for the VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center in 1986 and his outstanding performance resulted in his selections to similar positions at VA’s in Loma Linda and Long Beach, CA. He used the remaining G. I. Bill to complete his master’s degree in 1989 and was also a drilling reservists serving as Administrative and Training Officer for a Camp Pendleton Medical Detachment.

In 1990 Michael was selected into VA’s Chief Operating Officer COO) training program and began his training at the Long Beach VA. In 1991 he was mobilized in support of Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield and was assigned to Navy Hospital Camp Pendleton. After being demobilized he completed his VA COO training and was assigned as Assistant Medical Center Director at the Long Beach VA. He was eventually promoted to Acting Medical Center Director prior to his selection as COO for the Loma Linda VA.

His last VA assignment was as the Director/CEO of the VA Health Administration Center in Denver prior to retiring and being recalled to active duty. As a result of his extensive senior healthcare executive VA leadership experiences in providing oversight, direction, and guidance in healthcare management areas the Loma Linda VA received outstanding JCAHO scores and was recognized for quality excellence and received the prestigious Robert W. Carey Award Quality Assurance Award. His performance during his impressive twenty-two (22) year VA career resulted in five (5) Commendations, nineteen (19) Superior Performance Awards, a Certificate of Appreciation from the VA Secretary, CIO Council and the Industry Advisory Best IT Practices in Federal Government Award, and the Denver Federal Executive Board Excellence in Government Award.

Upon completion of a three-year active duty recall Michael was selected as a Health Center Administrator for the Hillsborough County Health Department. In less than 18 months he was promoted to the Health Department’s Administrative Services Director and Financial Administrator. He was the catalyst behind developing the Health Department’s new vision and values and developed a strategic planning process that transformed the corporate culture using Malcolm Baldridge quality criteria.

He was subsequently selected as a Program Director for Healogics, Inc., a leading partner of healthcare systems offering comprehensive wound care, prior to being mobilized in support of the Global War on Terrorism and Overseas Contingency Operations.

Upon retiring from active duty in 2013 Michael was offered a corporate senior executive position as the Director, Veterans Division for Zeiders Enterprises, Inc. Zeiders was an $80M government contracting company that provided quality of life services and programs to service members, veterans and their families. They were an industry leader focusing on military family readiness and resilience services, behavioral health counseling, work-life education programs, employee learning programs and professional management and consulting services. Under his portfolio he provided executive leadership on Navy contracts that included developing resiliency training courses for all Navy personnel and providing that training prior to deployments. He was also the company’s POC with MOAA’s National Headquarters in hosting Warrior Care Roundtables involving key private and public sector leaders resulting in identifying and addressing relevant quality of life issues affecting warriors and their families.

In 2016 he was requested to join an elite group of passionate retired military and civilian leaders to explore the potential to start a brain health institute for veterans with persistent traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and associated psychological health conditions. He joined Retired Army General Pete Chiarelli, Dr. Jim Kelly, Founding Director of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence and several others on site visits to fourteen academic institutions nationwide to determine potential sites for a network of brain health institutions.

As a result a $38M philanthropic gift that was received from the Marcus Foundation the first- ever Marcus Institute for Brain Health (MIBH) was stood up in 2017 at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado. The primary patient population are veterans with TBIs and their families. Michael served as the Chief Operations Director and Chief of Staff from day one and is now serving as a healthcare consultant for MIBH. In February 2021 MIBH partnered with the Gary Sinise Foundation under the Avalon Network and are opening up veteran TBI sites throughout the country thanks to an additional combined $40M gift from the Marcus and Blank Foundations.

Over 400 veterans and family members have been successfully treated at the MIBH for their TBI and associated psychological health conditions since 2017. Partnerships now exist with Tulane University, Jefferson University, the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, and the University of Florida, School of Medicine in Jacksonville, Florida. Up to ten (10) TBI sites will be stood up within the next three years and veterans with TBIs and their families are being evaluated and treated at no expense at all site locations.

Michael has been the POC with the MIBH and the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network in developing a Memorandum of Agreement with VA in the evaluation and treatment of TBI veterans. As a result VA had agreed to provide VA staffing support to ensure there are warm handoffs and a continuum of care for TBI veterans who receive their long-term care in the VA healthcare system.

Advocacy on Behalf of Veterans:

Michael has been advocating for service members, veterans and their families throughout his civilian and military careers dating back to 1974. He served in uniform (active and reserve) for 39 years and as a full-time VA employee for 22 years. His multiple and diverse military and civilian positions have been all about advocating on behalf of service members, veterans and their families. He was instrumental in expanding VA benefits for Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange and for legislation to provide benefits and healthcare for children of Vietnam Veterans who were bom with spinal bifida.

As a result of his tremendous knowledge of the VA and DOD Healthcare Systems he was by name requested to fill a billet the Navy identified as “critical” in support of the Chief of Navy Operations Safe Harbor/Wounded Warrior Program. His advocacy for wounded, injured and ill service members and their families resulted in DOD changes that were included in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. He initiated a first ever joint command strategic plan to standardize processes and policies in support of all wounded, injure and ill programs.

He has and continues to provide advocacy on behalf of veterans as a community volunteer on local veteran centric boards, committees and veteran service organizations. He recently developed a comprehensive strategic plan for Mission United in support of meeting the healthcare needs of veterans in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. As Vice President of Manasota Veterans he is recognized as “THE HEALTHCARE ADVOCATE” for veterans who are having challenges in getting their healthcare needs met. He has met with several local veterans on an individual basis to assist in submitting VA disability claims and upgrading their discharges through the appropriate Board of Corrections.

His knowledge and understanding of the signature invisible wounds of post 911 veterans has led to his involvement with Veterans Treatment Courts, the Wounded Warriors Project’s Warrior Care Network and countless other veteran advocacy organizations at the local, state and national levels. His role as a healthcare consultant with the MIBH and the Gary Sinise Foundation are opening up clinical and non-clinical treatment capabilities to assist veterans with TBIs in the state of Florida as well as multiple other locations throughout the United States.

His expertise was recognized by his White House appointment to the Veterans Advisory Committee on Rehabilitation and also to the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) Task Force. His passion to assist in mitigating veteran suicides has led to his present appointments to the Colorado and Florida Governor’s Challenge Task Forces.

Civic Activities and Contributions:

2021: Moderator, What’s New with VA Community Care Panel, 1st Annual Partnerships for Veterans and Military Health Virtual Conference
2021: Moderator, Traumatic Brain Injury Track Session, 1st Annual Partnerships for Veterans and Military Health Virtual Conference
2019-2020: Advisory Council for the Health Pillar, Mission United, Sarasota, FL (501 c3)
2019 – 2020: Appointed to the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) Task Force
2020 – Present: Florida Governor’s Challenge Task Force
2020 – 2021: Planning Committee, University of Colorado, 1st Annual Partnerships for Veterans and Military Health Virtual Conference
2018 – Present: Vice President, Manasota Veterans, Inc. (501c3)
2018 – Present: Colorado Governor’s Challenge Task Force
2018 – 2020: Veterans Treatment Court – Volunteer
2015 – 2016: President, AMVETS 301 Riders
2015-2017: President, Team Reid Retreat (501c3)
2015: Volunteer, DOD Wounded Warrior Games
2014 – Present: DAV Life Member
2010 – Present: Member, The Army and Navy Club, Washington, D.C.
2010-2015: Member, ACHE District 2, National Capital Chapter
2008 – 2012: White House Appointment to the Veterans Advisory Committee on Rehabilitation 2010 – 2014: Director and Board Member, Help Hospitalized Veterans (501c3)
2008 – 2011: Board Member, ACHE, District 6, Navy Regent’s Advisory Council
2008 -2011: Specialty Leader, Navy Reserve Medical Service Corps, Health Care Administration
2007 – 2009: Selected to serve on the ACHE Credentialing Committee
2009: Received ACHE Service Award for Healthcare Management Excellence
2005 – 2008: Board of Directors and President, ACHE, Western Florida Chapter
2002 – Present: Member, AMVETS (Post 301, Ellenton, FL from 2002-2018)
2001 – Present: American Legion, Post 325, Ellenton, Florida 2018 – Present: American Legion Riders, Post 325, Ellenton, FL
1998: Cabinet Member, Denver United Way and Combined Federal Campaign
1997 – 1999: Chairman-Elect, Vice Chair and Member, Denver Federal Executive Board
1991 – Present: Member, Fellow and Life Fellow, American College of Health Care Executives (ACHE)
1991 -2013: Member and Fellow, American Academy of Medical Administrators
1990 – Present: Keynote Speaker at multiple Memorial and Veterans Day Events, Moderator and Panel Member for a plethora of AMSUS, VA, and ACHE Conferences
1990 – Present: Member, Military Officer’s Association of America (Bradenton, FL Chapter since 2001)

Awards and Honors:

2021: Awarded Life Fellow Status for displaying the highest standards of performance and professionalism, ACHE
2020: Keynote Speaker, Manatee County, Memorial Day
2021: Keynote Speaker, American Legion Post 325, Memorial Day
2016: Bradenton Marauder’s Military Hero’s Recipient 2013: President’s Legion of Merit
2010: Meritorious Service Medal
2002: Meritorious Service Medal
1999 – Present: Leadership VA Alumni Association, Life Member
1998: Selected as Meet Director, National Veterans Wheelchair Games 
1995: Selected as Director, National Veterans Golden Age Games 
1990: Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
1991: Selected for Leadership VA
1991: Selected to attend the Interagency Institute for Federal Healthcare Executives, The George Washington University
1976: Airman of the Quarter – Hanscom AFB
1976: Selected to the USAF Recruiter Assistance Program
1978: USAF Commendation Medal
1978 – 1999: Received five (5) VA Commendations, nineteen (19) Superior PerformanceAwards and a Certificate of Appreciation from the VA Secretary

Written Narrative:

As a selectee to the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame (FVHOF), Class of 2018,1 have first-hand knowledge of the character, qualifications and passion for those deserving of this special recognition. Without question Michael has the character, qualifications, passion and proven track record to be a 2021 FVHOF selectee. His phenomenal contributions to countless Floridian veterans, service members and their families has positively impacted lives and assisted in the transition from military to civilian life. He continues to work and advocate at the community and state levels for our over 1.5M veterans and their families by serving on local veteran centric boards, participating in community activities and by volunteering on the Florida Governor’s Challenge Task Force.

There are countless veterans throughout the state of Florida that strive to make an impact; however, I can think of no one more deserving to be included in the Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame than Michael Hartford. His passion to influence positive change and his commitment to service has led to quality of life improvements for veterans throughout Florida’s Tampa Bay area. Michael is currently the Vice-President of Manasota Veterans, a 501c3 organization, committed to advocating for the 90K veterans and their families who reside in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. He works tirelessly to understand, and provide needed support for veterans as well as military support organizations and initiatives. I most strongly endorse and request that Michael Hartford be selected to the 2021 FVHOF. I understand the FVHOF is made up of the very best of us all, and I am confident that Michael will be a perfect fit. It’s an honor for me to nominate this Great American for this prestigious and well-deserved honor.

Thank you!