Leadership Lessons: A Conversation with US Army Surgeon General LTG Nadja West


Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Darman Room (Taubman 135), Harvard Kennedy School

Nadja West

Join us for a conversation with the U.S. Army Surgeon General, Lieutenant General Nadja West. A boundary breaker in her own right, LTG West has accumulated a number of superlatives throughout her military career: the highest ranking female graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and the first Black Army Surgeon General, among other distinctions. She is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, and more. 

CPL’s faculty co-director, retired USAF Brigadier General Dana Born, will join LTG West in discussion as West reflects on the leadership lessons from her distinguished career and how her personal story has informed her leadership trajectory. 

RSVP here.

This event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be served.

Co-sponsored by the Veterans Impact Day student committee. 
Click here to learn more about Veterans Impact Day. 



LTG Nadja Y. West is the 44th Surgeon General of the United States Army and Commanding General, US Army Medical Command.

LTG West is a graduate of the United States Military Academy with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering. She attended the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, where she earned a Doctorate of Medicine Degree.

She completed her internship and residency in Family Medicine at Martin Army Hospital, Fort Benning, GA. During this assignment she deployed with the 197th Infantry Brigade, 24th Infantry Division during Operation Desert Shield and was attached to the 2/69th Armor Battalion during Desert Storm. She then served at Blanchfield Army Hospital, Fort Campbell, KY as a staff family physician and then the Officer in Charge of the Aviation Medicine Clinic. While there she also participated in a medical mission with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

LTG West completed a second residency in dermatology at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and the University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver, CO. She was then assigned as the Chief, Dermatology Service at Heidelberg Army Hospital in Germany. In her following assignment, she served as the Division Surgeon of the 1st Armored Division, Bad Kreuznach, Germany; deploying to the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo as the Deputy Task Force Surgeon.

She was then assigned as Chief, Department of Medicine and the Dermatology Service at 121st General Hospital in Seoul, Republic of Korea. LTG West then commanded McDonald Army Community Hospital, Fort Eustis, VA. Following command she served as the Deputy Commander for Integration at the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC), Bethesda, MD where she became the first Army Officer to join the leadership team at NNMC. She then served as the J-3, Director of Operations, for Joint Task Force National Capital Regional Medical. Following this assignment LTG West commanded Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, NC and then went on to serve as the Commanding General, Europe Regional Medical Command.

Following command in Europe, LTG West served as the Deputy Chief of Staff, G1/4/6, Office of the Surgeon General, Falls Church, VA. Following this assignment she moved to her most recent assignment as the Joint Staff Surgeon at the Pentagon, Washington, DC. As the Joint Staff Surgeon she served as the chief medical advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and coordinated on all issues related to Health Services including operational medicine, force health protection, and readiness within the US military.

LTG West completed the Army Medical Department Officer Basic and Advanced Courses and the Army Command and General Staff College. She is also a graduate of the National War College; earning a Master of Science in National Security Strategy.

Her awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the NATO Medal, various campaign medals, the Combat Medical Badge, the Flight Surgeon Badge, the Army Parachutist Badge, the Army Air Assault Badge, and the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge in Gold. She is a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit and the Order of Saint Christopher and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Family Practice.