Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs
Department of Defense
United States

Dr. Jonathan Woodson is the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and Director, TRICARE Management Activity.  In this role, he administers the more than $50 billion Military Health System (MHS) budget and serves as principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense for health issues. The MHS comprises over 133,000 military and civilian doctors, nurses, medical educators, researchers, healthcare providers, allied health professionals, and health administration personnel worldwide, providing our nation with an unequalled integrated healthcare delivery, expeditionary medical, educational, and research capability.

Dr. Woodson ensures the effective execution of the Department of Defense (DoD) medical mission. He oversees the development of medical policies, analyses, and recommendations to the Secretary of Defense and the Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness, and issues guidance to DoD components on medical matters. He also serves as the principal advisor to the Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness on matters of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) medical defense programs and deployment matters pertaining to force health.

Dr. Woodson co-chairs the Armed Services Biomedical Research Evaluation and Management Committee, which facilitates oversight of DoD biomedical research.  In addition, Dr. Woodson exercises authority, direction, and control over the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS); the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI); the Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE); the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology; and the Armed Services Blood Program Office.

As Director, TRICARE Management Activity, Dr. Woodson is responsible for managing all TRICARE health and medical resources, and supervising and administering TRICARE medical and dental programs, which serve more than 9.6 million beneficiaries. Dr. Woodson also oversees the TRICARE budget; information technology systems; contracting process; and directs TRICARE Regional Offices (TRO). In addition, he manages the Defense Health Program (DHP) and the DoD Unified Medical Program as TRICARE director.

Prior to his appointment by President Obama, Dr. Woodson served as Associate Dean for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and Professor of Surgery at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), and senior attending vascular surgeon at Boston Medical Center (BMC).  Dr. Woodson holds the rank of brigadier general in the U.S. Army Reserve, and served as Assistant Surgeon General for Reserve Affairs, Force Structure and Mobilization in the Office of the Surgeon General, and as Deputy Commander of the Army Reserve Medical Command. 

Dr. 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 the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and completed residency training in internal medicine, and 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 U.S. Army War College.

In 1992, he was awarded a research fellowship at the Association of American Medical Colleges Health Services Research Institute. He has authored/coauthored a number of publications and book chapters on vascular trauma and outcomes in vascular limb salvage surgery.

His prior military assignments include deployments to Saudi Arabia (Operation Desert Storm), Kosovo, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has also served as a Senior Medical Officer with the National Disaster Management System, where he responded to the September 11th attack in New York City. Dr. Woodson’s military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal (with oak leaf cluster).

In 2007, he was named one of the top Vascular Surgeons in Boston and in 2008 was listed as one of the Top Surgeons in the U.S. He is the recipient of the 2009 Gold Humanism in Medicine Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges.