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Dr. Mike McGinnis Returns to Service as Navy Medicine Executive Director

06 February 2024

From André Sobocinski

Dr. Mike McGinnis was sworn in as the new Navy Medicine Executive Director by Rear Adm. Darin Via, the Navy Surgeon General, on February 6, 2024. He is only the second Senior Executive Service (SES) civilian to serve in this role.“My goal as the Executive Director is to support the Surgeon General’s Lines of Effort in support of America’s
Dr. Mike McGinnis was sworn in as the new Navy Medicine Executive Director by Rear Adm. Darin Via, the Navy Surgeon General, on February 6, 2024. He is only the second Senior Executive Service (SES) civilian to serve in this role.

“My goal as the Executive Director is to support the Surgeon General’s Lines of Effort in support of America’s warfighter,” McGinnis said. “In particular, I hope to establish stronger bonds with senior civilian leadership throughout the Pentagon and the services. I want to ensure that our expeditionary medical capabilities are properly resourced, not just to develop them, but to sustain these life-saving capabilities consistently.”

As Navy Medicine increasingly focuses on providing agile, scalable, trained, and certified medical units to the Fleet and Fleet Marine Force, there is no better time to have an operationally focused Executive Director helping to support the ongoing strategic efforts.

“His deep experience brings instant credibility to distributed maritime operations, and we’ll be able to leverage his knowledge of the defense healthcare system as we continue driving towards our North Star,” said Rear Adm. Via.

Born into a Navy family, McGinnis grew up around the world appreciating the Navy’s mission and the concept of service to the country. And when it came time to continue this tradition, he embraced the opportunity. “I wanted to emulate a family tradition and do that as a Navy physician,” said McGinnis.

After attending Johns Hopkins University, Dr. McGinnis was accepted into the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP), which funded his medical education at the University of Virginia. He was commissioned as an Ensign in 1989 and served 34 years in Navy Medicine, retiring as a Captain in the Medical Corps in 2023.

His military service includes a broad spectrum of operational and executive positions, including U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Fleet Surgeon, U.S. Pacific Fleet, COMNAVEUR-COMNAVAF-COMSIXTHFLEET Force Surgeon, and Commanding Officer, Naval Health Clinic Annapolis.

As Executive Director, McGinnis will advise the Surgeon General, Deputy Surgeon General, and Force Master Chief to ensure unity across BUMED’s business and planning programs, functions, and processes. As the Navy’s senior civilian healthcare executive, he is also responsible for the development and execution of Navy Medicine’s five-year Campaign Plan aligned to the Chief of Naval Operation’s priorities for “America’s Warfighting Navy.”

The Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) established the position of the Executive Director in 2015 to increase collaboration across Navy medical functions, facilitate headquarters communication through “one voice,” and ensure continuity of command leadership.

Communication, engaged leadership, teamwork, and mentorship are among the chief tenets Dr. McGinnis aims to bring to his new role.

“These are qualities that I want to emphasize and exemplify as Executive Director,” McGinnis said. “I believe it is important to be proactive and energetic about communicating up and out, ensuring that everyone understands why we are doing what we are doing, and how we are getting there while being open to feedback from the Fleet, Fleet Marine Force, and the deckplates.”

Dr. McGinnis credits several mentors who played key roles in inspiring, shaping, and preparing him for this position. Among them, Vice Adm. C. Forrest Faison, Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham, Rear Adm. Christine Hunter, Rear Adm. Colin Chinn, Dr. Mike Malanoski and Mr. Joe Marshall – the latter two served as members of the Department of Defense SES community.

As he looks back on his military career, McGinnis acknowledges that his entry into senior executive and expeditionary/operational medicine owes much to Capt. (ret.) Fanancy Anzalone.

“I had the fortune of having a great commanding officer at Naval Hospital Naples, Italy in Captain Anzalone,” related McGinnis. “He had been Director of the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute (NAMI) during a previous tour and recruited a friend and me to take a look at the Residency in Aerospace Medicine (RAM) program. At that time, I had not been operational. RAM was a fantastic opportunity to get a master’s in public health and solidify my understanding of public health and preventive medicine through aerospace medical residency. I went through the training pipeline with future aviators and learned about the special physical demands placed on pilots. I look back at my senior medical officer tour aboard USS Nimitz as the foundational experience that motivated me to pursue an executive medicine career and set me on the course I’m on today.”

As McGinnis embarks on the latest chapter of his storied career, he is most excited to serve alongside some of the Navy’s most talented people. “From the most junior enlisted to the most senior officers and across our civilian workforce, we are in a special window where we have talented professionals all committed to the mission,” said McGinnis. “And I am excited to work side-by-side with everyone in this fantastic global organization and support them.”

Navy Medicine – represented by more than 44,000 highly-trained military and civilian health care professionals – provides enduring expeditionary medical support to the warfighter on, below, and above the sea, and ashore.
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