12 February 2013
Remembering Dr. Barbara Terry-Koroma

Gail Whitehead

CDMRP PAO

Dr. Barbara Terry-Koroma, program manager at the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, passed away January 23, 2013. 

Originally from Townsville, N.C., Dr. Terry-Koroma received her Ph.D. from North Carolina State University in cell biology.  She trained in molecular biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular endocrinology at the National Cancer Institute. Prior to joining the CDMRP, Dr. Terry-Koroma conducted breast and prostate cancer research at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the Molecular Pathology department.

Dr. Terry-Koroma joined the CDMRP in January of 1998 where she served as a Special Populations Program Manager, helping to develop new research funding mechanisms that incorporated the talents and resources of minority institutions in addressing cancer health disparities. In June 2000, Dr. Terry-Koroma became the Program Manager of the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program, the first military-relevant medical research program in CDMRP’s portfolio.  In 2007, she led the efforts to invest and manage $301 million in research for the newly-created Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program. Over her entire career at CDMRP, she managed seven programs totaling more than $1 billion in research funding.  Dr. Terry-Koroma’s tireless and humble efforts were instrumental in finding and funding innovative research critical to the medical needs of service members and their families. She was an inspiration and role model to her colleagues at CDMRP, as well as the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and the Department of Defense.

CAPT (Retired) Melissa Kaime, former director of CDMRP, reflected on Dr. Terry-Koroma: “I have so many great memories of Barbara from the many years we worked together at CDMRP. I have always had great respect and admiration for her. She worked incredibly hard. Those of us in the organization appreciate that she answered more "taskers" from our many bosses, handled more difficult situations with grace and finesse, kept track of more complex issues than anyone else. I never saw her lose her temper; she never complained. She was able to find the good in everyone. She worked magic when it seemed there were no answers. I watched her give enormously to her work, and yet she still found time to give to her family, her church and her community. How blessed we all were to be in her circle of light and love. I grieve deeply, and share that grief with many, at her passing.”

Barbara was a much loved member of the Tabernacle Church of Laurel and served as an Elder and an Associate Minister. Her nurturing, warm, loving spirit was a lifeline for many of her fellow congregants, particularly the youth. The Rev. Elder Dr. Barbara Terry-Koroma is affectionately remembered by the children of her congregation and CDMRP family as ‘Auntie Barb’ for her inspired (if sometimes tough) love, and a purse filled with treats for every child. Her office was graced with art work and photos of the smiling faces of the children in her life. Included in the collage of love and inspiration is a photo of her introduction to Mother Teresa of the Missions of Charity, Calcutta, India, a woman that Barbara admired and emulated in selfless service.   

Remembering Barbara, Col. Jeffrey Leggit, director of the CDMRP said, “Dr. Barbara Terry-Koroma’s mission in life was to make the world a better place.  To say that she was successful is an understatement.  She possessed the innate ability to make everyone she met feel special. She will be missed because of her laugh, her love, and her light.  But I will miss her mostly because she was my friend.” 

We shall miss her.  Barbara, rest in peace.

Posted by PAO

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