Inslee Names Head of State COVID-19 Response Team

Gov. Jay Inslee Sunday named retired Navy Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono as Washington state director for COVID-19 Health System Response Management.

Bono is currently a senior fellow with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. As the former chief executive officer and director for the Defense Health Agency, Bono led a joint, integrated support agency that enabled all branches of the U.S. military medical services to provide health care services to those engaged in combat.

She is the first woman surgeon in the military to hold the rank of vice admiral.

“Vice Admiral Bono will help bolster our existing coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic across our state’s health care system,” Inslee said. “She brings an impressive medical background, a long and distinguished military career and a deep understanding of complex medical delivery systems. Her expertise will help us ensure that we can meet the needs of Washingtonians who are sick, or will become ill from COVID-19.”   

The appointment is effective immediately.

In this role, Bono will advise the governor, his staff and state agencies on actions needed to address the capacity and strain across the health care system. She will work closely with acute care facilities, long-term care facilities, clinics, tribal facilities, and the federal government to assess and address the greatest needs. Her role will include work to ensure medical staffing needs are met, as well as develop standard protocols across facilities and coordinate with the state Emergency Operations Center to operationalize statewide efforts.

“I am honored and delighted to join Governor Inslee and the Washington state health care community in their collective leadership and expertise to develop a model of care for all Washingtonians and others during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bono said.

“We are very pleased to have the expertise and leadership of Vice Admiral Bono in our coordinated efforts between the public health and health care system as we continue to respond to this unprecedented public health crisis,” Secretary of Health John Wiesman said. “Her leadership will enhance our response on behalf of all Washingtonians.”

Bono obtained her medical degree from Texas Tech University and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She completed a surgical internship and a general surgery residency at Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, and a trauma and critical care fellowship at the Eastern Virginia Graduate School of Medicine in Norfolk.

Bono served in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm as head of casualty receiving for a fleet hospital in Saudi Arabia. Upon returning, she worked as a surgeon at Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth and as a surgical intensivist and attending surgeon at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

Her long medical career includes service as: director of Restorative Care and director of Medical-Surgery Services at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland; career planning officer for the chief of the Medical Corps; executive assistant to the 35th Navy Surgeon General; commanding officer at Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida; and chief of staff and deputy director of Tricare Management Activity of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Health Affairs.

Bono’s leadership roles include service as deputy director for Medical Resources, chief of Naval Operations, and as command surgeon for the U.S. Pacific Command at Camp Smith in Hawaii.

She has also served as: acting commander for the Joint Task Force National Capital Region Medical; director of the National Capital Region Medical Directorate of the Defense Health Agency; the 11th Chief, Navy Medical Corps; and director of the Defense Health Agency.

Bono is a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and also has an Executive MBA from the Carson College of Business at Washington State University.

Her personal decorations include three Defense Superior Service Medals, four Legion of Merit Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals and two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals.

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