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Surgeon General's Corner

Vice Admiral
Matthew Nathan
Surgeon General

The Surgeon General mission is to be the principal advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) on the provision of centralized, coordinated policy development, guidance, and professional advice on health service programs for Department of the Navy (DON). Provides oversight on direct and indirect systems for delivering health services to all beneficiaries in wartime and peacetime as authorized by law. Acquires sufficient resources to provide health services. Serves as Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED).

His authority and responsibilities of the SG, as an Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) Principal Official, are derived from the statutory authority and responsibilities of CNO and Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) and other authority, and responsibilities as assigned by the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV). Orders issued by the Surgeon General (SG) in performing his assigned duties have the force and effect of orders issued by CNO.


Image of  Lt General Thomas Travis, VADM Matthew Nathan and Lt Gen Patricia Horoho

Navy Surgeon General Testifies at HAC-D Hearing

Washington DC, April 2, 2014 -- Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Matt Nathan (center) joined his medical counterparts as witnesses before the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Defense, on April 2, to discuss the Defense Health Program. Questions from the committee centered on changes to the TRICARE benefit fee structure, the integrated electronic health record, medical research, and mental health. From left to right are Lt. General Thomas Travis, Air Force Surgeon General; Nathan; and Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, Army Surgeon General. Not pictured is Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, who also participated in the hearing. (Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Carlin Leslie)

Navy Medicine Highlights Commitment to Global Partnerships
By Lt. Cmdr. Dustin J. Harrison, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2 Phnom Penh, Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (NNS) -- Navy Surgeon General completed a visit to Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2 - Phnom Penh (NAMRU-2 PP), Cambodia, Feb. 26 - 28. Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, Navy Surgeon General and Chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery met with NAMRU-2 staff, U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia, William Todd, Lt. Gen. Kong Saly, director Health Department, Ministry of National Defense, the Cambodia Minister of Health, Mam Bunheng, and others to discuss current and future U.S. government public health partnerships. Nathan was provided with a detailed overview of current partnerships, projects, and progress in capability and capacity building, and infectious disease surveillance efforts in Cambodia, some of which is lead by NAMRU-2 PP.

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Navy Surgeon General Welcomes Future Physicians to Community

From Naval Academy Public Affairs (Feb. 5, 2014)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- The Navy surgeon general visited the Naval Academy Feb. 3 to participate in a dinner and reception for the 12 Midshipmen selected to commission into the Navy Medical Corps.

Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan addressed the Midshipmen to offer insight into the challenges ahead of them as they graduate from the Academy and begin medical training.

"The biggest challenge for these new officers will be completing four years of medical school followed by post-graduate training in a residency program. They will be challenged in their studies more than they ever have been before as they work to learn an incredible amount of complex knowledge in a short period of time," said Nathan. "These Midshipmen have been selected for the program because they have shown the desire and the aptitude to be successful.

"Even just spending a few moments with these young Midshipmen shows me that the Navy is in good hands," he added.

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​Vice Admiral Nathan is the 37th surgeon general of the Navy and chief of the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.
Nathan received his Bachelors of Science from Georgia Tech and his M.D. from The Medical College of Georgia in 1981. He completed Internal Medicine specialty training in 1984 at the University of South Florida before serving as the Internal Medicine Dept Head at Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In 1985 Nathan transferred to Naval Hospital, Groton, Connecticut as leader of the Medical Mobilization Amphibious Surgical Support Team. In 1987, Nathan transferred to Naval Medical Center San Diego as Head, Division of Internal Medicine with additional duty to the Marine Corps, 1st Marine Division.

In 1990 he served as a Department Head, Naval Hospital Beaufort, South Carolina before reporting to Naval Clinics Command, London, U.K. where he participated in military-to-military engagements with post-Soviet Eastern European countries. In 1995, he was assigned as specialist assignment officer at the Bureau of Naval Personnel, providing guidance to over 1,500 U.S. Navy Medical Corps officers. In 1998 he accepted a seat at the Joint Industrial College of the Armed Forces located in Washington, D.C., graduating in 1999 with a Masters in “Resourcing the National Strategy.” Nathan went on to serve as the Fleet Surgeon, Forward Deployed Naval Forces, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, aboard the flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), out of Yokosuka, Japan. In 2001, he transferred as Deputy Commander, Navy Medical Center Portsmouth, Va.

In 2004 Nathan assumed command of Naval Hospital Pensacola with additional oversight of 12 clinics in 4 states where he oversaw Navy medical relief efforts following hurricanes Ivan, Dennis, and Katrina. Despite all facilities receiving crippling blows; his command still garnered the TRICARE/DOD award for “highest patient satisfaction in a medium sized facility”. In June 2006, he transferred as the Fleet Surgeon to the commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, instrumental in organizing the Fleet Health Domain integration with the Fleet Readiness Enterprise while providing medical global force management. In 2007, Nathan was assigned as Commander, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and Navy Medicine Region East with command of over 18,000 personnel and an operating budget exceeding $1.2 billion.

Nathan also served as Commander, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Navy Medicine, National Capital Area where he was the Navy component commander to the largest military medical integration and construction project in DOD history.

Nathan is board certified and holds Fellow status in the American College of Physicians and the American College of Healthcare Executives. He also holds an appointment as Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He is a recipient of the American Hospital Association “Excellence in Leadership” award for the Federal Sector.

Nathan’s personal awards include the Distinguished Service Medal (1); Legion of Merit (5); Meritorious Service Medal (2); Navy Commendation Medal, and Navy Achievement Medal (2).

Vice Admiral Nathan speaks at the 2013 George P. Shultz Lecture Series about Navy Medicine.

2/21/13 – Watch an extended version of the George P. Shultz Lecture Series featuring Vice Admiral Matthew L. Nathan, the 37th Surgeon General of the Navy & Chief of the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery at the Marines' Memorial Club on February 19, 2013.

Click here to watch it on YouTube

Navy Surgeon General Shares His Priorities and Goals for Navy Medicine

12/28/12 - U.S. Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan provides an overview of his goals and priorities of - Readiness, Value and Jointness for the Navy Medicine enterprise.

Click here to watch it on YouTube

Navy Surgeon General Provides Leadership Guidance to Navy Medicine

2/12/12 - Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Matt Nathan provides an overview of his leadership expectations for the Navy Medical global workforce.

Click here to watch it on YouTube


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