Army Ranger turned physician earns prestigious Krause Center leadership award
Citadel Class of 1977 graduate recognized for distinguished service, leadership and ethics
A servant-leader whose first career spanned 26 years as Army Ranger serving America in peace and war, and who is now focused on helping lead a major health system is being recognized through the Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics. Dr. Stephen Sittnick is the 2017 recipient of the Krause Center Award for Distinguished Service, Leadership and Ethics.
Sittnick spent his early life traveling the world as the son of soldier. After graduating from The Citadel in 1977 with a degree in political science, he commissioned as an infantry second lieutenant in the Army. His military tenure included service in the 101st Airborne Division, 9th Infantry Division, 509th Airborne Battalion, 2nd Ranger Battalion and 82nd Airborne Division with combat deployments during Operation Just Cause, Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He commanded soldiers at all levels from platoon to brigade. He retired with the rank of colonel.
At age 48, Sittnick began medical school. After graduating and completing a family medicine residency, he accepted a position with Christ Community Health Services in Memphis, one of the nation’s largest faith-based health systems, serving more than 58,000 patients. In 2013, Sittnick was appointed Chief Medical Officer of Christ Community. In this capacity, he supervises the operations of eight outpatient clinics, which have integrated medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and spiritual health services. He also supervises the system’s inpatient obstetrics, GYN surgery, and neo-natal medicine services at three area hospitals. He directly leads more than 60 physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and pharmacists.
Sittnick’s academic qualifications in addition to The Citadel include: Master of Arts and Science in Strategy and Operations from The United States Army Command and General Staff College, graduate of the Army War College, and Doctor of Medicine from Kansas City University of Medicine and Bioscience. He graduated from Via Christi Family Medicine Residency, and is now a board certified family physician by the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.
Sittnick is married to the former Cava Leila Skardon of Summerville, South Carolina. They have moved 17 times in their life together fulfilling the call to serve the United States. They have a son and a daughter who are both graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point. Their son Mack is a U.S. Army infantry officer Airborne Ranger captain. Their daughter Sally and her husband are both first lieutenants and airborne combat engineers.
The Krause Center Award for Distinguished Service, Leadership and Ethics is presented annually to a Citadel graduate who exemplifies the highest ideals of leadership through integrity and service to others.
A selection committee composed of 10 members representing departments and councils from across The Citadel community participated in the selection process. To be considered, a nominee must be a graduate of The Citadel who:
• Exhibits The Citadel's Core Values of Honor, Duty, Respect in their private and professional life
• Embodies the values and ethical character of a principled leader
• Exemplifies service before self in actions and deeds (profession, career, community service)
• Serves as a role model in professional and personal endeavors
Previous winners of the Krause Award include Frank P. Mood (2011), W. Henry Johnson (2012), Gen. William W. Hartzog (2013), William B. Sansom (2014), Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. (2015) and Ernest Frederick (Fritz) Hollings (2016).