JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., –
Navy Lt. Matthew Middendorf, a physician in Naval Health Clinic Charleston’s Undersea Medicine Department, was named NHCC’s "Provider of the Year". He felt humbled when he found out he had won the coveted award.
“I was surprised and honored,” said Middendorf. “It’s means a lot to me to be recognized for my work.”
A native of Athens, Ga., Middendorf has been serving at NHCC on Joint Base Charleston since 2015. As an undersea medical officer, he provides primary care and readiness services for the students of Naval Nuclear Power Training Command. He serves as a member of NHCC’s Medical Executive Committee, ensuring command policies are in alignment with those of the Bureau of Medicine & Surgery. He has also served as independent duty corpsman program director for IDCs at three area commands, ensuring 100 percent credentialing and supervision, which allowed for the safe delivery of care to more than 8,100 active duty service members.
"Lt. Middendorf is an outstanding physician who is committed to his patients and Navy medicine," said Capt. Dale Barrette, NHCC’s commanding officer. "He excels as a clinician, leader and serves as a role model to all of staff. He embodies the spirit of this 'Provider of the Year' award."
Middendorf said he couldn’t have earned his new title without the support of his fellow staff members.
“The effort is a collective one each and every day,” said Middendorf. “I am very lucky to have such a motivated team that has made it possible to accomplish many things.”
He especially thanked the Navy hospital corpsmen on his team.
“The corpsmen are the backbone of our clinic,” said Middendorf. “Without them, accomplishing our mission simply would not be possible.”
Middendorf, the son of Mary and Bruce Middendorf and nephew of Wayne Middendorf, said his parents and uncle were his biggest inspirations for becoming a physician. “I am blessed to have wonderful parents as role models and mentors,” he said. “They have always instilled in me the importance of hard work and service to one’s fellow man.
“I am lucky to have grown up with both my father and uncle as physicians,” Middendorf continued. “As a child, I always enjoyed their ‘doctor stories,’ and I grew to admire them in my early training for their bedside manner and tireless pursuit of excellence.”
The 2004 graduate of Athens Academy earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Georgia in 2009. Middendorf said a community medicine rotation with Dr. Joe Wills, a surgeon in Thompson, Ga. helped guide him along the path to a successful career.
“Dr. Wills is an excellent surgeon and teacher, beloved by the community,” said Middendorf. “He was no-nonsense. He instilled in me that this is a serious profession and it needs to be taken seriously.
Middendorf was commissioned in the Navy in 2009 through the Navy’s Health Professionals Scholarship Program. He followed in the footsteps of his paternal grandfather, Earl Middendorf, a former machinist mate in the Navy, as well as his maternal grandfather, Harold Berg, an Army Air Corps pilot who flew B24 bombers in the South Pacific during World War II.
“I was intrigued by the different career possibilities and job opportunities in the Navy Medical Corps,” said Middendorf. “But even more so, I truly felt it was a privilege and an honor to be able to serve our great country.”
Middendorf’s assignments prior to his position at NHCC included serving at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center, in Panama City, Florida, completing dive medical officer training with an emphasis on the recognition and treatment of diving-related casualties; at the Naval Undersea Medical Institute, in Groton, Connecticut, where he underwent undersea medical officer and radiation health training and certification; and at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Maryland, where he completed a year-long internal medicine residency and six months as a general medical officer in the Medical Readiness Dept.
“The Navy has given me incredible opportunities to grow as a leader and a physician, Middendorf said as he reflected on his career thus far.
His next assignment will be at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia, where he will finish an internal medicine residency. One of his long-term goals for the future is to teach medicine.