2012 Alumna of the Year: Captain Kimberly Elenberg ’88
Captain Kimberly Elenberg ’88 was the 2012 Milton Hershey School Alumna of the Year. A doctor of nursing practice, an informaticist, public health administrator, educator, and a leader of national prevention strategies, Elenberg works with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Office of the Chief Medical Officer as the deputy director for population health, medical management, and patient-centered medical home.
She is responsible for utilization, case, and disease management for 36 military treatment facilities that serve 9.7 million beneficiaries inside and outside the continental United States. She will also serve as the Department of Defense liaison to the White House for initiatives related to her responsibilities.
In a previous role, she was director of training and manager of medical readiness in the Office of Force Readiness and Deployment, Office of the Surgeon General. It was her responsibility to teach more than 6,500 professionals who work within multiple disciplines in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps how to strengthen and build health infrastructure following manmade or natural disasters.
Following graduation from MHS, Elenberg earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Temple University, Philadelphia, on a four-year ROTC scholarship and a master’s degree in informatics from the University of Maryland, and graduated summa cum laude with a doctorate in nursing practice from The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. During her career, she has responded to many disasters, including the anthrax attacks in Washington, D.C., following Sept. 11, 2001. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, she was appointed to serve as the operations and planning chief in the greater New Orleans area under Rear Admiral Vincent Berkley. For her leadership during deployments in 2007 and 2009, Elenberg received the Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medal. In 2008, she served aboard the USS Boxer in Central America as part of Operation Continuing Promise.
Elenberg recently was nominated for a Health and Human Services Innovates Award for helping to author the Community Health and Service Missions program (CHASM), which is designed to bridge the chasm of health disparities and protect the health of all Americans by providing essential human services for those who are least able to help themselves. The program also aims to increase the skills of the country’s public health workforce to better enable them to execute an effective response to disasters and emergencies.
She also has served as director for biosurveillance and emergency response at the Department of Agriculture, where she orchestrated the design and development of two nationwide electronic food safety and security systems in addition to assisting with the design of the Department of Homeland Security’s national biosurveillance information system. Previously, she served for one year on the Homeland Security Council National Security Subcommittee to evaluate and make recommendations to the president on matters related to medical and public health information sharing.
Elenberg has published extensively and received numerous awards, decorations, and local and national recognition for her achievements.
Outside of her career, she is a strong supporter of community service and has served on community and national boards and provided leadership for many diverse organizations. This year, she is collaborating with Remote Area Medical and the Oglala Sioux tribe to initiate a leadership camp for at-risk adolescents. Additionally, she initiated and runs the internship program for the Division of Commissioned Corps Personnel and Readiness.
Elenberg volunteers as much time as she can with MHS students, including being a career day speaker, a young alumni mentor, and a program speaker for various student events. She received the MHS Alumni Achievement Award for Career Excellence in 2009. She has said, “MHS helped me learn to believe in myself.”
Elenberg resides with her three children: Steven Michael, Robert, and Falicia.