Alexandria surgeon Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono, MD, FACS, honored for inspiring women in surgery

SAN FRANCISCO: Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono, MD, FACS, received the 2019 American College of Surgeons (ACS) Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award last night during the Convocation ceremony that preceded the opening of the College’s Clinical Congress 2019, which is one of the largest educational meetings of surgeons in the world. Dr. Bono, a board-certified trauma surgeon, is chief executive officer (CEO) and director, Defense Health Agency (DHA) Medical Corps. The award was developed by the ACS Women in Surgery Committee (WiSC) and recognizes significant contributions to the advancement of women in the field of surgery.

A general and trauma surgeon by training, Dr. Bono serves as an inspiration and a role model for all surgeons, especially women surgeons in the military. She launched the Military Health System’s Female Physicians Leadership Course to encourage diversity, retain women physicians, and give military women the skills they need to succeed in senior leadership roles. This course has become an annual, standalone, three-day course since 2015, training more than 100 women military physicians annually.

Dr. Bono was the keynote speaker at the Association of Women Surgeons 35th Annual Conference. Her speech, Leaning Forward: Leadership Lessons from the Battlefield to the Boardroom, left a lasting impression on multiple generations of women surgeons. She also presented a young surgical trainee with a champion coin—a military tradition. This spawned the creation of an Association of Women Surgeon’s Better Together champion coin that has been shared globally.

As the CEO and director of the DHA Medical Corps, Dr. Bono leads a joint, integrated combat support agency that enables all branches of the U.S. military—Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps—medical services to provide health care services to combatant commands in times of both peace and war. Dr. Bono integrates an unprecedented $50 billion worldwide health care enterprise composed of 50 hospitals and 300 clinics that provide care to 9.5 million military personnel, oversees the Department of Defense deployment of the electronic health record, and facilitated the collaboration between the largest federated health systems of the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

An ACS Fellow since 1991, Dr. Bono served on the ACS Board of Governors (2014−2016) and the Governors Health Policy and Advocacy Workgroup. She has been honored with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, three Defense Superior Service Medals, four Legion of Merit Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, and two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medals.

Dr. Bono’s illustrious military career and dedication to our nation’s service men and women, combined with her demonstrated leadership skills, and focus on assisting female physicians in furthering their career, exemplify the spirit of the Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award.

The Dr. Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award is named for Mary Edwards Walker, MD, the first female surgeon to be employed by the U.S. Army and the only woman in the 1855 graduating class of Syracuse Medical School. Dr. Walker is the only woman to have received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Her extensive commitment to the surgical profession has helped pave the way for the women surgeons of today.

Editor’s note: A photo is available from the Office of Public Information of the American College of Surgeons, email:

“FACS” designates that a surgeon is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

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About Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono, MD, FACS Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono, MD, FACS 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 U.S. Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, Va., and performed a trauma and critical care fellowship at Eastern Virginia Graduate School of Medicine, Norfolk.

About the American College of Surgeons The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 82,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. Its annual Clinical Congress is one of the largest international meetings of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit

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