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VADM(Ret) Raquel Bono, MD- Navy Trauma Surgeon- Innovating, Influencing, and Inspiring at all Levels

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

For nearly 30 years, VADM(Ret) Bono served with honor and distinction as a highly respected Naval Officer and the first woman surgeon in the military to hold the rank of Vice Admiral.

Currently, she is the Chief Health Officer for Viking Cruises, an industry-leading model to establish a C-suite office for restarting the cruise and travel business while maintaining a public health safety profile.


In this episode, Dr. Bono discusses her pathway toward a career in Navy Medicine and her training to become a critical care-trained trauma surgeon. She talks about her experiences in the first Gulf War and how lessons learned from that conflict shaped her view of the critical role of Military Medicine in supporting war efforts and how she used this experience following the attacks on 9/11 and subsequent military operations in Southwest Asia.

Dr. Bono played a significant role in transforming how Electronic Health Records were utilized and integrated by the VA and DoD and discusses some of the challenges and successes during this work. She also describes her involvement in the dramatic shift in how the Military Health System was organized in her role as the second director of the Defense Health Agency. She provides a behind-the-scenes perspective on implementing this new Agency, and it's role in supporting a medically ready force and ensuring a ready medical force. VADM(Ret) Bono provides valuable leadership and mentorship advice for the next generation of military healthcare professionals.


A board-certified trauma surgeon, Dr. Bono is an inspiration and role model for all surgeons, especially female surgeons nationwide and in the military. Dr. Bono received her bachelor's degree from the University of Texas, Austin; her Master of Business Administration from Washington State University, Spokane; and her medical degree from Texas

Tech Health Sciences Center, Lubbock. She completed her surgical internship and residency at the Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, VA. She performed a trauma and critical care fellowship at the Eastern Virginia Graduate School of Medicine, Norfolk.


Dr. Bono's leadership positions in the DoD include CEO/director, DHA (2015-2019); CEO/director, National Capital Region Medical Directorate (2013-2015); acting commander, Joint Task Force (JTF), National Capital Region (2013); functional champion, MHS GENESIS, the VA and DoD EHR (2014-2015); command surgeon, U.S. Pacific Command (2011-2013); chief of staff, TRICARE, DoD (2008-2010); commanding officer (CEO), Naval Hospital, Jacksonville, FL (2005-2008) and other significant positions.


Here are direct links to Dr. Bono’s episode on Apple and Spotify:


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