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Gov. Inslee names retired Navy admiral, surgeon as state director of response to COVID-19

UPDATED: Sun., March 22, 2020

Navy Adm. Raquel C. Bono has been named as state director for the COVID-19 health response in Washington. (Courtesy)
Navy Adm. Raquel C. Bono has been named as state director for the COVID-19 health response in Washington. (Courtesy)

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Gov. Jay Inslee appointed a retired Navy admiral and surgeon as the state director for COVID-19 Health System Response Management on Sunday.

Adm. Raquel C. Bono is the former chief executive officer and director for the Defense Health Agency and is a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. Bono was the first female surgeon in the military to attain the rank of vice admiral.

“She brings an impressive medical background, a long and distinguished military career and a deep understanding of complex medical delivery systems,” Inslee said in a statement. “Her expertise will help us ensure that we can meet the needs of Washingtonians who are sick, or will become ill from COVID-19.”

Bono immediately will begin advising the governor and state agencies on actions needed to address capacity and general strain on the state’s health care system, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

She will also work to develop standard protocols across facilities statewide.

“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 in a statement.

After completing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas-Austin, Bono got her medical degree at Texas Tech University.

She completed her general surgery residency at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. She also completed a trauma and critical care fellowship before serving in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Bono went on to serve in a host of leadership roles in the Navy before retiring from service. She is a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and has an executive master’s in business administration from Washington State University.

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