Surgeon General

Surgeon General Dive In Series

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The Navy Medicine Surgeon General’s Diversity, Inclusion, Value and Equity Interactive discussion or DIVE-IN is a series of conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion. The recorded discussions encourage deck plate conversation about contemporary issues of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or other identifying differences that make our society unique and diverse.  While there have been many points in history where society reflects on expectations of diversity and inclusion, the summer of 2020 presented a real opportunity for change.  Across Navy medicine leaders are seizing the moment to reflect upon their roles and find opportunities to advance diversity, equity and inclusion within their organizations. Shared perspectives and experiences gained through conversation make us a better informed, more connected, inclusive and stronger One Navy Medicine.

SG Message: Deputy Surgeon General Transition

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Spring and summertime bring lots of change and transition to our military.  Thousands of Sailors PSC around the world with their families.  New leaders join organizations and others transition to new opportunities; that consistent flow of change keeps us strong.

Navy Medicine Deputy Surgeon General, Rear Admiral Shaffer will be retiring on 8 July after an illustrious 33 year career.  These past few years, I have had the honor to witness first-hand Rear Adm. Shaffer’s servant leadership and her commitment to our One Navy Medicine Team.  She is an incredible problem solver, a team builder, and a terrific partner.  Through the many challenges of COVID-19 – from the vaccination effort to the greater DSCA response – she was always fully engaged in keeping us healthy and helping us succeed in our mission.  And whenever I have needed counsel, she was always there to provide sage advice and keep us on track.

Succeeding Rear Adm. Shaffer is a tall order.  It was recently announced that Rear Admiral Darin Via, Commander, Naval Medical Forces Atlantic, was selected to serve as the new Deputy Surgeon General, and he is more than up to this task.  Like RADM Shaffer, Rear Admiral Via brings a wealth of operational and leadership experience.  He has played pivotal roles on the frontlines in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it should also be noted that he will be the first former Hospital Corpsman to serve as DSG.

Please join me in congratulating RADM Shaffer on a career well-served and a warm welcome to RDML Via.

With my continued respect and admiration,

SG Sends

SG’s Article – Leadership Through Organizational High Reliability During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Navy Medicine’s Experience

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While I am a subscriber to this journal and therefore could read this article, I can’t find an open source link to the article. Here is the abstract:

Navy Surgeon General’s Get Real, Get Better Message

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Esteemed Shipmates,

For the Navy, the concept of High Reliability Organizations (HRO) was born in the high-risk, unforgiving environments of submarines, aircraft carriers, and diving operations.  HROs function well in a complex environment with a significantly lower rate of mishap and error than expected.  An HRO is not error-free, but demonstrates resilience and improvement by moving past errors and learning from previous failures and suboptimal performance.

As part of our primary mission to support the medical readiness of our Sailors and Marines, we are committed to being a High Reliability Organization.  In fact, the principles of HRO are not only the third of our “4Ps: but are at the very heart of the CNO’s “Get Real, Get Better” (GRGB) initiative.  We must learn from the moments when we “missed the mark”.  Only when we Get Real and are honest with our shipmates and ourselves can we make the necessary improvements to Get Better.  Here are two recent Navy Medicine examples of GRGB:

*         COVID DSCA Teams.  Based on lessons learned from early deployments during the pandemic, we used rapid-cycle feedback to revamp our medical support team models.  We saw traditional deployment packages did not meet the emerging requirements so we “embraced the red” to develop innovative force generation concepts that leveraged expertise from specialized skillsets across Navy Medicine.  The teams’ chief hallmark was their versatility and agility in providing tailored support to local acute care facilities.  Since July 2020, we have deployed teams to 28 different cities where they provided indispensable medical care to civilian hospitals.

*         PHA Backlog.  Early in the pandemic, MTFs experienced a rapid accumulation of overdue Periodic Health Assessments (PHAs) – more than 25% of the force and ultimately affected readiness.  We took a hard look at the PHA process and developed ways to streamline our systems.  We improved our ability to “virtualize” visits while also creating new guidance that increased the prioritization of PHAs and readiness assessments.  The impact of these changes, along with your hard work, were immediate and significant.  By December 2021, we reduced the backlog of overdue PHAs by more than 60,000.

Of course, there will always be challenges – and with them, opportunities for improvement.  As an HRO we are never content with the status quo, but constantly strive to improve. Get Real, Get Better gives us the tools to reach even higher levels of performance. Recently, we sent one of our Forward Deployed Preventive Units (FDPMU) to Poland. While we were able to meet the ten-day timeline for deployment, the team identified several processes that need work.  We are actively applying a “Get Real” approach and investigating how we can improve Navy Medicine’s ability to equip our medical providers for deployment.  With the lessons we have learned – and will continue to apply – we can and we will Get Better in our ability to project medical power for naval superiority.

Thank you for your continued dedication to excellence.

For more on how we can Get Real, Get Better please see link below.

With my continued respect and admiration,


Navy Medical Leadership Message on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR)

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Esteemed Shipmates,

We are the world’s preeminent fighting force because we care for our people.

Our values of honor, courage, and commitment are the lifeblood of our service.  Every act of sexual harassment or assault directly undermines those values – and hurts military readiness.  All Navy Medicine Sailors and civilians must be responsible for demonstrating professional and ethical behavior in all settings and at all times – whether on duty, at home, or online.

We must do all we can to counter the scourge of sexual assault and sexual harassment.  Anyone who encounters or witnesses offensive behaviors has a duty to speak up, intervene, and report it swiftly to the appropriate points of contact.  If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual harassment or sexual assault, call the DoD Safe Helpline.  Services are available 24/7 by phone at 1-877-995-5247 or by text at 55-247 if CONUS or 571-470-5546 if OCONUS, or online

Navy Medicine strives to create and maintain a work environment where everyone is treated with dignity, decency, and respect.  This is fundamental to operating as a highly cohesive team providing outstanding care to our warfighters and their families.  To learn more, click on the link below to watch a message from Rear Admiral Shaffer and me.

SG and DSG Send



Updated Leadership Guidance from the SG and CNO

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The SG recently issued some updated leadership guidance to the senior leaders in Navy Medicine. Part of this was because the CNO updated his Charge of Command and the new Get Real Get Better initiative. Here are the relevant documents:

SG’s Message – Making a Powerful Difference

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Esteemed Shipmates,

This month our COVID Defense Support to Civil Authorities missions are nearing an end.  For over a year, our One Navy Medicine team members supporting these missions have made a true difference in the care and survival of COVID patients throughout America.  Since July 2021, we deployed more than 510 people to 24 cities.  These experiences not only speak to our strong partnership with U.S. Army North, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Department of Health and Human Services, but it also reflects our adaptability in answering the call for assistance.  We quickly sent tailored medical teams with specific skill sets to meet new mission requirements.  Our ability to make real-time adjustments on the biological COVID battlefield is a testament to our people, our platforms, and the high levels of performance and medical power we deliver.

Although we recognize that COVID variants will remain with us for the foreseeable future, it is time for us to refocus ourselves on our original and eternal mission – Navy Medicine exists to ensure we have a healthy, combat-ready naval force capable of winning wars, deterring aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas.

Recently, FORCM Roberts and I traveled to Bahrain, Israel, Sigonella, and Naples to see our medical warriors in the CENTCOM and EUCOM areas of responsibility.  At each location, we met with base and local leadership.  While in Israel, I met with my counterpart as we strengthened our strategic relationship.   We saw some exciting research the Israeli Navy is doing in diving and hyperbaric therapy – innovative endeavors that may offer opportunities for future collaboration.  In Italy, we had the opportunity to host joint town halls with Lt. Gen. Ron Place, Director of Defense Health Agency (DHA), and CSM Gragg, Senior Enlisted Leader, DHA, and we were able to observe some of the incredible work our Sailors are doing in overseas.  Overall, this trip reinforced our existing force readiness requirements, and the critical capabilities Navy Medicine provides to Combatant Commanders as we ensure security and stability in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Geopolitics often drives our global missions and where we deploy; the war in Ukraine is yet another reminder.  We have seen the images of war-torn cities and people fleeing to Poland, Moldova, and Romania.  As with past conflicts, we are boots-on-the-ground supporting our forces.  Currently, Navy Medicine is providing medical and dental support at the Aegis Ashore clinics in Poland and Romania.  Last week, we deployed a Tier 1 Forward Deployed Preventive Medicine Unit to help care for refugees in Poland.  Whether in the European theater or stateside, one thing is clear: our One Navy Medicine Team is making a powerful difference in a world that has never needed it more.

Thank you for all you continue to do.  Charlie Mike – Rendering Assistance.

SG Sends

SG’s Message – We are One Navy Medicine – Celebrating Black Health and Wellness

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African-American/Black History Month is an annual observation which recognizes significant accomplishments of African and Black Americans throughout our nation’s history; through their contributions in medicine, sciences, arts, law, politics, sports and so much more.  The history of Black History Month traces back to 1915, when the “Father of Black History Month,” Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, and he introduced the first Negro History Week in February 1926.  In 1976, nearly 50 years later, President Gerald Ford issued the first Black History Month proclamation, calling upon Americans to celebrate and observe the contributions and accomplishments of Americans with African heritage each February.

Black History is American history, and there is no shortage of Black American trailblazers, leaders and heroes to recognize and admire.  In celebration of Black History Month 2022’s theme of Black Health and Wellness, and these are numerous firsts, whose contributions to Navy Medicine opened the doors for many others:

–  Phillis Mae Dailey, the first African American Navy Nurse Corps Officer

–  Ruth C. Isaacs, Katherine Horton, and Inez Patterson, first African American WAVES to enter the Hospital Corps School at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.

–  Lt. Thomas Watkins, Jr., became the first African American naval dentist.

– Donna P. Davis was commissioned as a LT in 1978, as the first African American female physician in the Navy.

– Joan Bynum<>, a Navy nurse and the first African American woman to be promoted to Captain (O-6).

–  Vice Admiral Adam M. Robinson, Jr.<>, the first African American appointed as Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy.  He served as the 36th Surgeon General of the Navy.

I am reminded every day of the mission criticality of diversity, inclusion and equity.  Like many of you, as we walk the halls of our place of work or view webpages of our organization, it is apparent that our leadership and C-suite compositions are not always reflective of our entire demographics.  I further recognize that even the position of the Surgeon General which I currently hold since its inception has lagged in terms of race, gender and Corps diversity.  Complacency, deflection, and avoidance does not drive change – but action, empathy understanding and accountability does.  We cannot erase past inequities and subjugations of our Nation and forefathers, but we learn from them and can collectively pledge to improve and embrace the diversity, equity and inclusion moving forward.  This starts with each of us; the transparency and accountability for change we want to see in the future starts with us, right now.  Admiral Zumwalt said, “There is no black Navy, no white Navy-just one Navy-the United States Navy.”   I say, there is One Navy Medicine.

This February, Navy Medicine joins a greatful nation in honoring and celebrating the contributions Black Americans have made to our Nation and our Navy… “Black Health and Wellness”, the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birth workers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora,”

Join me in raising awareness of the contributions and celebrating the achievements of all Americans!

SG Sends

SG Conversations with the Authors: The Sailor’s Bookshelf, 1200 on 14 Feb 2022

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At 1200 on February 14, 2022, the Surgeon General of the Navy will be speaking with Adm. (ret.) James Stavridis on Facebook Live as part of the “Conversations with the Authors” Series.  

The topic of conversation will be  The Sailor’s Bookshelf: Fifty Books to Know the Sea by Admiral Stavridis.   As a Facebook Live event this will be open to the Enterprise and we encourage all BUMED personnel to watch on the BUMED Facebook site.

A flyer about this event is attached and hope you can all attend: