Army Deputy Surgeon General encourages public health students

August 26, 2009

David RubensteinMaj. Gen. David A. Rubenstein is an exemplary leader, and he hopes rural public health students follow in his footsteps.

He is the U.S. Army’s Deputy Surgeon General and a graduate of Texas A&M University as well as the Army War College. Obtaining degrees for health administration and military service, he was armed with knowledge to pursue a career in protecting the American people and providing for their health care needs.

“Service” could be his middle name. A consummate professional, Maj. Gen. Rubenstein is chairman of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) — a professional health care organization providing tools, guidance and support for its members. Acting in his role as ACHE chairman, he recently gave a presentation to School of Rural Public Health students. These students are members of the Association for Future Healthcare Leaders—an ACHE student organization.

“There’s always someone smarter than you,” he said. “Find out who can help you.”

In addition to finding a mentor, Maj. Gen. Rubenstein says it takes networking, education and professional development to prepare to become a good leader.

He likened health care leadership to developing a timeline of options before making decisions.

“It’s like rules of engagement in the Army,” he said. “It’s what a soldier does before he pulls the trigger. To make decisions that could result in life or death, it’s important to invest in yourself.”

In addition to advice about decision-making, MG Rubenstein spoke about networking.

“Membership in professional organizations is not required for graduation, but it helps along the way.”

He stressed that education, as well as communication, is important for a balanced life.

“Read professional papers, but think outside the box,” he said. “I recommend ‘If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 ½ Things You Would Do Differently.’ Also, if you want to learn about leadership, read diaries and journals about Lewis and Clark.

He says the ACHE provides comprehensive resources to give health executives an advantage in leadership.

“Whether people are beginning their career or are well established in one of the many sectors of the health care field, the ACHE is dedicated to give members an edge as exemplary leaders,” he said.

With these words, Maj. Gen. Rubenstein inspired the students to strive for excellence in their field as great leaders do.

For more information about the ACHE, go online to, call (312) 424-2800 or fax (312) 424-0023.

— Marketing & Communications