Captain Denise M. Gechas

Following her Senior Nurse Executive/Director of Nursing Services tour at U. S. Naval Hospital Sigonella, Captain Denise M. Gechas assumed her role as Executive Officer of Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor in May 2018.


A native of Chicago, Captain Gechas entered the workforce as a Licensed Practical Nurse in 1984. While a staff nurse at the Phoenix Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Captain Gechas earned an Associate Degree in Nursing, and shortly after, earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree under the U.S. Navy’s Bachelor Degree Completion Program. In 1993, she was commissioned as an Ensign, Nurse Corps, United States Navy.


Captain Gechas reported to her first duty station, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, where she served as a staff nurse in a Level II newborn nursery. Shortly after reporting, she had the unique privilege of researching, implementing, and staffing the U.S. Navy’s first and only Joint Commission accredited Perinatal Home Health program. She then went on to assume various leadership roles in large, medium, and small military medical centers, hospitals, and clinics around the world. In 2000, Captain Gechas applied for Duty Under Instruction and completed both a Master’s degree in Nursing and a Master’s degree in Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. As a national board certified Advanced Public Health Nurse, she also served a tour as the U.S. Navy Surgeon General-appointed Specialty Leader for Community/Public Health Nursing.


From October 2008-2009, Captain Gechas deployed as an Individual Augmentee in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and functioned as a Medical Embedded Training Team mentor to the Afghan National Army’s 203rd Corps Surgeon. Following deployment, she reported to Naval Branch Health Clinic, Bahrain as the Senior Nurse Officer and Department Head of the Primary Care Clinic. In 2011, she assumed the Director of Population Health role at the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center in Portsmouth, Virginia and then transferred to the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED). As part of her BUMED duties, Captain Gechas was involved in the establishment of the new Defense Health Agency (DHA), and was later selected to assume a leadership role within the DHA’s newly formed Public Health Division. In December 2016, she completed a lifetime goal by earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Rush University in Chicago.


Captain Gechas’ personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal (2); Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3); Army Achievement Medal (2); and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3), in addition to various unit citations and awards.