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Dr. Jonathan Woodson Tapped to Lead Uniformed Services University

Image of Woodson smiling. Dr. Jonathan Woodson, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASD(HA)), was selected as the new President of the Uniformed Services University. (Photo credit: Tom Balfour, USU)

Dr. Jonathan Woodson, a vascular surgeon and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASD(HA)), will lead the nation's only federal health sciences university – the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) – as its new President. Woodson was selected by the Secretary of Defense following a nationwide academic search. The announcement was made June 2, 2022, by Seileen Mullen, the acting ASD(HA).

"The depth and breadth of Dr. Woodson's more than 30 years of experience will be a major asset to the University and the Military Health System (MHS). He led the MHS through major change, including overseeing the standup of the Defense Health Agency, along with other major initiatives. I am confident that he will continue the University's long history of excellence and leadership in military medicine," said Mullen.

As President of USU, Woodson will be responsible for the academic, research and service mission of the university, which includes more than 2,500 students from the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine and its associated graduate programs in the biomedical sciences and public health, the Daniel K. Inouye Graduate School of Nursing, and the university's Postgraduate Dental College and College of Allied Health Sciences. The University has more than 11,500 alumni, many of whom serve the nation as uniformed health providers or civilian scientists. Woodson will also oversee more than 15 research centers and the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI).

"I am honored and excited to become the seventh USU President. I want to thank the Secretary of Defense for this vote of confidence and I look forward to working with the talented USU community to build on its accomplishments of the past and chart a great future. Preparing the health and medical research leaders needed for the Military Health System and the nation is an extremely important mission to ensure we always care for those we ask to go in harm's way," said Dr. Woodson.

Woodson is currently a Lars Anderson Professor in Management and professor of the practice at Boston University's Questrom School of Business and holds joint appointments as professor of surgery at the School of Medicine and professor of health law, policy and management at the School of Public Health. He established and led the university-wide Institute for Health System Innovation and Policy.

From 2010-2016, Woodson was Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and Director of the Tricare Management Activity in the United States Department of Defense. He was the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense for all health and force health protection-related issues and ensured the effective execution of the DOD medical mission. He exercised authority, direction and control over the Defense Health Agency, USU, AFRRI, Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, and the Tricare Health Plan serving 9.5 million beneficiaries. In 2016, he was appointed as a member of the USU Board of Regents and later served as its chair.

Woodson holds the rank of Major General, United States Army Reserve, and is Commander of the United States Army Reserve Medical Command, Pinellas Park, Florida. His military deployments include Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Storm, Kosovo, and Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a former senior medical officer with the National Disaster Management System, where he responded to the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center.

Before his appointment to the DOD by President Obama in 2010, he was a professor of surgery and associate dean for students, diversity, and multicultural affairs and senior attending vascular surgeon at Boston Medical Center.

Woodson is a graduate of the City College of New York and the New York University School of Medicine. He received his postgraduate medical education at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and completed residency training in internal medicine, as well as general and vascular surgery. He is board-certified in internal medicine, general surgery, vascular surgery, and critical care surgery. He also holds a master's degree in strategic studies (concentration in strategic leadership) from the United States Army War College. In 1992, he was awarded a research fellowship at the Association of American Medical Colleges Health Services Research Institute.

Woodson will begin his duties as President of USU on June 21, 2022.

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Last Updated: July 11, 2023
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