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FLETC focus with Dr. Ruth Simmons: Spotlighting Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and FLETC’s 50th Year

May 19, 2020

GLYNCO, GA – The Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) salutes Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM) through a series of articles recognizing FLETC staff of Asian and Pacific Island descent. The AAPIHM national campaign theme “Unite Our Nation by Empowering Equality” reminds us that we are stronger together; united by our common ties and better collectively because of our distinct experiences. Our first focus article shines a light on Dr. Ruth Simmons, Senior Program Analyst in Artesia, New Mexico.

Dr. Simmons is no stranger to public service. Born to Mabini and Teodora in Angono, Rizal, The Philippines, the family relocated to San Diego when Simmons was an infant after her father, a U.S. Navy member, received reassignment orders.

“Both of my parents were hardworking, industrious, innovative, and they valued education and learning,” says Simmons. “My Dad always told us when we were growing up that no one is ever too old to learn. And to this day, I love and welcome learning new things and new ideas.”

Selected as FLETC’s first physician assistant in 1995, Dr. Simmons recalls wanting to be a part of the organization where most in the federal law enforcement field receive their training prior to being deployed to the field. Dr. Simmons has served in a variety of positions since her tenure at FLETC began, including Branch Chief, Assets Management Branch; Management Analyst; Administrative Property Specialist; Supply Management Specialist and Physician Assistant/Acting Medical Officer in Charge.

Dr. Simmons is an impactful and innovative employee, and many of her ideas have enhanced FLETC processes. “We used to have to write down by hand the “SOAPs” (Subjective, Objective/Physical Findings, Assessment and Plan) for each patient that we saw in the Health Unit,” Simmons says. With her suggestions, an electronic medical record created in collaboration with Information Technology (IT) is now in use. Another suggestion made by Dr. Simmons to track injury trends now impacts training by focusing on injury prevention. This was done in collaboration with the Research and Evaluation Division, the FLETC athletic trainers and the Office of Workers Compensation Program (OWCP) Specialist in the Human Capital Office. Another suggestion adopted by FLETC was Dr. Simmons’ idea to form a Medical Review Board to evaluate and decide students’ medical ability to continue or discontinue training.

Suggestions and ideas come to Simmons as second nature now. “I love looking at various processes, analyzing and researching where I can make it better,” Simmons says. “I thrive in being innovative and relish the creativity that comes with it.”

As FLETC approaches its 50th anniversary, Dr. Simmons foresees bright days ahead for our organization. “FLETC has always been, and I firmly believe, it will always be, in the forefront when it comes to law enforcement training which is its mission, because we don’t rest on our laurels and get complacent,” Simmons says. “We keep on seeking higher sights and moving to higher ground so we can be the best there is in the world. There are a lot of innovative changes ahead of us especially in the field of information technology and artificial intelligence and we will always be the best as we remain adaptable, agile, flexible, innovative, resilient and open minded with the willingness to embrace change to make us better.”

Simmons concludes, “FLETC is a place where there are great people, a great environment, opportunities for career growth…it’s just the best Law Enforcement Training Centers in the world.”

Dr. Ruth Simmons
Sharing a smile and good vibes for Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Dr. Ruth Simmons, Senior Program Analyst for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers in Artesia, New Mexico, from her home. (Photo by Ben Briones, Jr.)