Military Family Forum I: Warrior and Family Wellness: It Takes a Team

Military Family Forum I: Warrior and Family Wellness: It Takes a Team

Monday, October 9, 2017 to Monday, October 9, 2017

LTG Nadja Y. West

LTG(R) Nadja Y. West

Lieutenant General (ret) Nadja West is the 44th Surgeon General of the US Army and the former commanding general of the US Army Medical Command (USAMEDCOM). In 2015 West became the first African American woman in the Army’s history to achieve the rank of Lieutenant General, and is currently the highest-ranking woman graduate of the United States Military Academy. A graduate of The George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, West completed residencies in Family Medicine and Dermatology and has held various clinical, operational and leadership positions throughout her more than 30-year career as a Soldier.

In her culminating assignment in the Army as the Surgeon General (TSG) and Commanding General of USAMEDCOM, West managed a budget of $11 billion and led the Army Medical Department (AMEDD) consisting of more than 130,000 dedicated healthcare professionals comprised of Active, Guard and Reserve Soldiers, Department of the Army Civilians, contractors and volunteers serving around the globe. In her role as TSG, West was the senior medical advisor to the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army. During her tenure, she led the AMEDD through the most comprehensive transformation that the Joint Health Services Enterprise has seen in over three decades.

West gratefully acknowledges the trailblazers who helped clear the path for her to follow, and the shoulders upon which she stood to climb to the heights she was able to achieve. She is continuing to blaze the path for others to follow. Among West’s accomplishments are several Army firsts. In 1999 she was the first woman selected to be the Division Surgeon for 1st Armored Division (Iron Soldiers!), the first woman selected as the Joint Staff Surgeon in 2014. As the Joint Staff Surgeon West was the advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) on all things medical.

In addition to West’s military awards, decorations and honors, she holds an honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service from the George Washington University (GWU), and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Methodist University. In 2016 West received the GWU Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award; and became one of the inaugural Monumental Alumni award recipients in 2021. She is the recipient of the 2019 Daughters of the American Revolution Margaret Cochran Corbin Award. In 2020, the CEO Forum Group selected West for the 2020 Transformative CEO Award in Leadership in the category of Military.

West was a Hauser Leader at the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership 2019-2021. She serves on the boards of directors for Nucor, Tenet and Johnson & Johnson. She is a trustee of the National Recreation Foundation, and of Mount St. Mary’s University; and is on the boards of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, Americares, and the Olmsted Foundation. She was recently named an independent director on the Board of Governors of the NCAA.

She and her husband Don have two awesome adult children, Sydney and Logan.

Josie Beets

Josie Beets

Senior Advisor, Office of Executive Councils

Josie is an attorney, government affairs professional, and strategic communications expert based in Washington, D.C. She currently serves as Senior Advisor for the Chief Financial Officers Council and President's Management Council, Office of Executive Councils. In this role, she works closely with leadership at the Office of Management and Budget and senior executives from the largest government agencies.

Josie has impacted public policy at the national and state level. At the Tennessee Bar Association, she led the policy team focused on the development of legislation to improve the legal profession. For her work, she was named one of Nashville Business Journal's 40 Under 40 Award Winners. 

Josie leads strategic planning and government relations for multiple non-profits, building relationships with government-wide senior staff and c-suite business leaders. In a volunteer capacity, Josie serves on the board of the Military Spouse JD Network (MSJDN), a special interest bar association and non-profit representing over 1,000 attorneys dedicated to supporting our military community. Josie was the founding director of Justice for Military Families, a pro bono project from MSJDN dedicated to serving the legal interests of the families of our fallen service members. 

Josie also serves on the Board of Trustees of United Through Reading. United Through Reading’s mission is to unite military families facing physical separation by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud together.

Josie is a proud graduate of Sweet Briar College and Brooklyn Law School. While in law school, she was recognized for her public interest work, including an award for her criminal justice work in post-Katrina New Orleans, which landed her in People Magazine.

VADM Raquel Bono

RADM Raquel Bono

Director, Defense Health Agency, Medical Corps, United States Navy

Commissioned in June 1979, Vice Adm. Raquel Bono obtained her baccalaureate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and attended medical school at Texas Tech University. She completed a surgical internship and a General Surgery residency at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, and a Trauma and Critical Care fellowship at the Eastern Virginia Graduate School of Medicine in Norfolk.

Shortly after training, Bono saw duty in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm as head, Casualty Receiving, Fleet Hospital 5 in Saudi Arabia from August 1990 to March 1991. Upon returning, she was stationed at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth as a surgeon in the General Surgery department; surgical intensivist in the Medical/Surgical Intensive Care Unit and attending surgeon at the Burn Trauma Unit at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Her various appointed duties included division head of Trauma; head of the Ambulatory Procedures Department (APD); chair of the Laboratory Animal Care and Use Committee; assistant head of the  Clinical Investigations and Research department; chair of the Medical Records Committee and command intern coordinator. She has also served as the specialty leader for Intern Matters to the surgeon general of the Navy.

In September 1999, she was assigned as the director of Restorative Care at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, followed by assignment to the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery from September 2001 to December 2002 as the Medical Corps career planning officer for the chief of the Medical Corps. She returned to the National Naval Medical Center in January 2003 as director for Medical–Surgical Services.

From August 2004 through August 2005, she served as the executive assistant to the 35th Navy Surgeon General and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. Following that, she reported to Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida, as the commanding officer from August 2005 to August 2008. She then served as the chief of staff, deputy director Tricare Management Activity (TMA) of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Health Affairs (OASD(HA)) from September 2008 to June 2010. She later served as deputy director, Medical Resources, Plans and Policy (N093), chief of Naval Operations. From November 2011 to June 2013, she served as the command surgeon, U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii. From July 2013 to September 2013, she served as acting commander Joint Task Force National Capital Region Medical. From September 2013 to October 2015, she served as director, National Capital Region Medical Directorate of the Defense Health Agency, and as the 11th Chief, Navy Medical Corps.  She currently serves as director, Defense Health Agency.

Bono is a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and has an Executive MBA from the Carson College of Business at Washington State University. Her personal decorations include Defense Superior Service Medal (three), Legion of Merit Medal (four), Meritorious Service Medal (two) and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal (two).

Patty Barron

Patricia Montes Barron

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy

Mrs. Patricia “Patty” Barron was appointed as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy in January 2021.

Mrs. Barron is currently responsible for a broad portfolio that includes policy, advocacy, and oversight of all community support to service members and their families, including quality-of-life issues; key legislative and policy issues affecting military families; family, child, and youth programs; the Military OneSource program and non-medical counseling resources; military spouse career advancement; morale, welfare, and recreation; defense resale policy for commissaries and exchanges; and family advocacy programs. Her oversight also includes casualty and mortuary affairs, and military funeral honors.

Prior to joining Military Community and Family Policy, she served as the Director of the Family Readiness Directorate at the Association of the United States Army and supported all AUSA family programs and events by providing management and oversight to all directorate activities. Previously, she served as the Director of Outreach, Military Family Projects, at Zero to Three and also worked as the Director of Youth Initiatives at the National Military Family Association where she oversaw NMFA’s Operation Purple Camp program.

As an Army spouse for 30 years, she has been involved in myriad efforts to support military families. She served on the Department of Defense Military Family Readiness Council, Zero to Three’s “Coming Together Around Military Families” Advisory Committee, the Sesame Workshop “Talk, Listen, Connect; Phase Two” Advisory Panel, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Advisory Board, the Child Care Aware of America Advisory Board, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Military Leadership Council.

Mrs. Barron earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of San Francisco, a Master of Science in Education from Long Island University, an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University, and an Executive Education Certificate from The Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Mrs. Barron is married to retired Army Col. Michael Barron. They have three adult children: Michael, Megan, and Joseph; a son-in-law, Vance; and two granddaughters, Sofia and Violet.

Opening Remarks:

Patricia M. Barron

Director, Family Readiness

Association of the United States Army


Lead Speaker:

LTG Nadja Y. West

Surgeon General and Deputy Commanding General

United States Army Medical Command


Soldier and Family Wellness Panel


Josie  E. Beets

Senior Advisor for the Chief Financial Officers Council and President’s Management Council

Office of Executive Councils

Past President, Military Spouse JD Network



COL Joseph H. Melvin

Chaplain, USA

Fort Belvoir Garrison Chaplain


COL Miguel D. Howe

United States Army, Retired

April and Jay Graham Fellow of the Military Service Initiative

George W. Bush Institute


LTC Amy Beth P. Moore

United States Army, Retired

Army Survivor Advisory Working Group


Marianne L. Campano

Military Caregivers - Heart of Recovery Initiative

Office of the Surgeon General, Army


Rachel  M. O'Hern

Executive Director

Returning Heroes Home Inc.


Closing Speaker

VADM Raquel C. Bono

Director, Defense Health Agency

Medical Corps, United States Navy