Veteran Melissa Tamayo Champions Military Healthcare
“I'm so proud that my job is to make sure that the military and our families have access to health care," says Melissa Tamayo, software manager in the federal health solutions division at Leidos. In this role, she manages a team of developers and analysts who handle healthcare software for the U.S. Armed Forces.
As a veteran with various military healthcare experiences and a military family member herself, Tamayo deeply appreciates serving soldiers with their healthcare needs and supporting their families. She served in the U.S. Air Force from December 1991 through August 1997 as a Health Services Management Journeyman.
Protecting the Country
Tamayo comes from a military family with a long legacy of service that continues today. Her family tree is filled with at least four generations of service members—including grandfathers who served in World War II in the Navy and Army Air Corps, to her father's Air Force tour in Vietnam, plus siblings, uncles, a daughter-in-law, and countless relatives across all branches. One of her sons previously deployed in the Middle East and is now in the Space Force. Her own career has focused on military healthcare, whether she was stationed at Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks, Alaska; working from home in California; and beyond.
Her first duty station was at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, where she participated in air evacuations to transfer patients to military medical facilities. In that role, she prepared patients for transfer, drove an ambulance to the flight line, and loaded patients onto the plane. She was never deployed outside the U.S., but during one shocking week at Fairchild, she experienced two unrelated tragedies. On a Monday, an active shooter killed four people and wounded 22 at the hospital. Tamayo helped manage the aftermath. Later in the week, a pilot pushed a B-52 past its limits, and the jet crashed, killing the four people on board.
, Software Development Manager
I learned many processes with those tragedies," Tamayo says. “When people think about the military, they always just think about protecting us from abroad. But really, the military is here to protect America, regardless of whether that's abroad or at home.
Tamayo has championed military healthcare while managing the Composite Health Care System (CHCS), a software program that hospital administrators have used to manage inpatient and outpatient health records at all branches of the U.S. military since the 1990s. She has been involved with the foundational software program for its entire lifespan.
First, she used it while on active duty at Fairchild. She later joined Leidos as a site manager, was promoted, and now enjoys managing a team of developers and building software packages for the CHCS program.
Today, she oversees sunsetting, or decommissioning, the program and preparing to transition to its successor, MHS GENESIS, a system that provides streamlined medical and dental records for healthcare teams across the Department of Defense, Veteran's Affairs, Department of Homeland Security, and private sector providers.
“I was able to watch it and learn from it the minute that CHCS arrived at Fairchild," she says, “And then I was able to decommission it at that site."
Advice for Job Seekers
Tamayo suggests that veterans should look for employers known for recognizing veterans and supporting military families as they transition to civilian careers.
“Leidos is very pro-veterans and they make that very, very clear," she says.
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