By 2nd Lt. Emerson Marcus, Nevada Air National Guard
/ Published October 17, 2019
Brig. Gen. Shanna Woyak, Nevada Air National Guard, assumed authority of the National Capital Regional medical directorate from Rear Admiral Mary C. Riggs, left, during a ceremony at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, Oct. 9, 2019. Woyak, who served the past year as the Air National Guard advisor to the chief nurse of the U.S. Air Force, is the first Air National Guardsmen to lead the NCR medical directorate.
Brig. Gen. Shanna Woyak, Nevada Air National Guard, assumed authority of the National Capital Regional medical directorate during a ceremony Wednesday at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Woyak, who served the past year as the Air National Guard advisor to the chief nurse of the U.S. Air Force, is the first Air National Guardsmen to lead the NCR medical directorate.
“With both National Guard and civilian sector medical experience, I hope to bring ideas that can open minds and dialogue about the future,” said Woyak, who served as the commander of the 152nd Medical Group, Nevada Air National Guard, 2012 to 2017, and 152nd Airlift Wing vice wing commander, 2017 to 2018.
Woyak will oversee a $1.28 billion budget and 58 Department of Defense medical facilities, including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and other subordinate clinics in the eastern U.S.
“My hope is that I’ll offer an additional dimension to the total force perspective that can guide our joint efforts,” she said.
Additionally, Woyak will lead changes recently mandated by federal law with the goal of creating standardization across military treatment facilities around the nation. The National Defense Authorization Acts of 2017, 2018 and 2019 required military departments transition administration of military medical treatment facilities to the Defense Health Agency by Sept. 30, 2021.
“Today marks another milestone…because an Air Force National Guard officer will lead a tri-service market,” said Rear Admiral Mary C. Riggs, interim assistant director Health Care Administration, who served as the ceremony’s presiding official Wednesday. "Military medicine has always been ready to operate jointly. I'm confident Brig. Gen. Woyak will bring this market what it needs to succeed under her tenure. [She] has consistently displayed leadership and initiative that are a hallmark of our Military Health System, qualities that are in higher demand than ever before."
Woyak has held numerous executive level positions at several healthcare providers over the past three decades, including the Truman Medical Center, Hillcrest Medical Center, Maricopa Medical Center, Arizona Burn Hospital and the Arizona Heart Hospital.
“There are a number of similarities between the market construct and what happens in the civilian sector, and I believe we can and should marry those lessons to the unique characteristics of military medicine,” Woyak said during the NRC assumption of authority ceremony Wednesday.
Woyak, who enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1986 and commissioned in 1995, was promoted to brigadier general in 2018, becoming the second female general in the Nevada Air National Guard’s history.
In 2002, she deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey as the chief nurse, in support of Operation Northern Watch. In 2007, she deployed as a staff nurse to Balad Air Base in Iraq.
“I am energized by the historic quality of this moment in military health,” Woyak said to members of the audience during the ceremony Wednesday. “I’m looking to you to continue to lead in that spirit and to challenge each other – and me – to operate with our grounding priorities that have made the NCR what it is today.”