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News | March 21, 2024

Meet a CMO: Retired Corporate Wellness Director Thrives at USMEPCOM

By Ashley Toomey

Dr. Gary Fagin was ignited by a profound sense of duty as he was called to serve his country following a career in internal medicine and a second one in corporate wellness. 

“I started off practicing internal medicine and then was recruited to be a corporate medical director. I gave up my private practice to direct global corporate medical policy,” said Fagin. “It was rewarding, but I wanted to do something with a bigger purpose.”

He discovered possibilities that aligned with his career and life goals, which he followed by beginning his journey in accessions medicine as a Fee-Basis Provider (FBP), a contracted medical provider responsible for assessing applicants and making the medical qualification decision at a MEPS.

“MEPCOM gave me an opportunity to serve,” said Fagin. “That’s why I did it. I never wore the [military] uniform, so it was time for me to give back.”

Dr. Fagin recalled his desire to serve the country and found purpose serving as a FBP for 3 years, travelling from MEPS to MEPS. When the opportunity presented itself, Fagin transitioned from FBP to chief medical officer (CMO) of the San Jose MEPS. CMOs are government providers who assess applicants and supervise the medical section of a MEPS.

“I was living in in New Hampshire at the time, but I decided to go out there [San Jose] for a five-year project,” said Fagin.

After his stint in San Jose, Fagin retired and moved back to New Hampshire but had little time to adjust to retired life.

Col. Brady, USMEPCOM commander from 2019 - 2021, asked Fagin to bring his expertise to a new project with the Medical Modernization Team (MMT) to develop and deploy MHS GENESIS across USMEPCOM.

Following the successful launch of MHS GENESIS and stand down of the MMT, Fagin took his experience to its successor – the Innovation Facilitation Team (IFT) - to work with stakeholders to support CMOs and medical processes across the country, hoping to increase efficiencies to reduce unnecessary workload.

IFT is currently leading multiple short- and long-term projects to increase efficiency for the MEPS. One of Dr. Fagin’s projects, the development and implementation of Natural Language Processing (NLP) within MHS GENESIS, has caused an overall reduction of contact-to-contract time for all services. NLP highlights relevant data so that MEPS providers may complete prescreens in a more efficient manner.

“I look at innovation primarily through the lens of the providers. I ask myself ‘how can I support my fellow CMOs in a way to help them get their jobs done?’,” said Fagin. “I like to think of this tool as a bridge towards AI.”

Along with NLP, Fagin continues to work on other long-term projects including an artificial intelligence project to improve our current prescreen processes. (Read more about the AI initiative here:

Fagin’s efforts don’t go unnoticed as he has become a major influence on current and future initiatives at USMEPCOM.

"Dr. Fagin is a great doctor who has a wealth of experience in accession medicine,” said Matt Lince, IFT and J-6 director. “What truly sets him apart is his ability to think and act strategically to deliver enterprise level solutions for the entire accession community. Our medical modernization journey wouldn't be possible without Dr. Fagin's leadership."

After almost ten years with USMEPCOM in varied positions, Fagin remains grateful and excited for the opportunities that come with serving Freedom’s Front Door.

“What a blessing it is for me,” said Fagin. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to grow and develop relationships with people that I wouldn’t have an opportunity to do without MEPCOM. I look forward to Monday mornings - getting back, rolling up my sleeves and being with this fantastic team.”