GOVERNOR Jay Inslee has named retired Navy Vice Admiral Raquel Cruz Bono as Washington state director for COVID-19 Health System Response Management.
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. Bono is currently a senior fellow with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
“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.
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.”
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.
“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.