It was because of her twin sister that McAfee U.S. Army Health Clinic Commander Lt. Col. Elba Villacorta joined the ROTC program in college – a decision that ultimately led her to join the Army.
Villacorta was born in El Salvador and immigrated to the United States when she was seven years old. As a high school student, she was able to visit the University of Southern California University Hospital to see what the medical field was like.
Although her parents are not in the medical field, her mother is an architect and her father is an engineer, she and her sister decided to pursue careers in the medical field.
“I thought about a career in the arts, but I like to take care of people,” Villacorta said.
The identical twins joined the Army after graduating from USC in 1997. They both pursued careers in Army medicine, but chose a different area of study to avoid confusion. Villacorta is a board certified Operating Room Nurse and her sister works in Obstetrics Gynecology.
Villacorta received a Master of Science in Nursing Administration in 2008 with a minor in Education and Informatics from the University of Texas Health Science.
She took command of McAfee Health Clinic July 11. Prior to her assignment at White Sands Missile Range, she served as the Executive Officer for the 3rd Medical Recruiting Battalion. She said she likes to take care of Soldiers and loves the administration side of the profession.
“It’s a great challenge and a great opportunity to do different things and be a part of change. You get to see the big picture,” Villacorta said.
She said her main goals during her command at McAfee Health Clinic are to enforce the Performance Triad and preventive care and to have patients treated like they are family.
“I want patients to just feel that we are part of their family. I can tell (that) was already embedded (in the staff). Some providers know patients by their first name,” Villacorta said.
Villacorta is married to Lt. Col. Jason Grant. They have a 13-year-old daughter, Maria Grant. Villacorta said she does not know if her daughter will follow in her footsteps, but wants her to choose any career she likes.
“The military provides great mentors and great opportunities to young ladies. If they have the thoughts and skills they can do whatever they want,” she said.