Born in Fort Bragg, Lieutenant General Patricia Horoho graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1982, receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. She went on to attend the University of Pittsburgh, graduating in 1992 with a Master of Science Degree as a Clinical Trauma Nurse Specialist.
In 2011 Horoho was sworn in as the first nurse, female Surgeon General. This historic day in US history was preceded by several stellar accomplishments, among them:
- named one of the top one hundred nurses in the state of North Carolina
- commanded the Army Nurse Corps
- received a two-grade promotion from colonel to major general
- served as assistant deputy for Healthcare Management Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army
Raymond T. Odierno, Army chief of staff, and retired Colonel praised Horoho saying, “She’s earned this extremely important leadership position, not only because of her incredible past performance and achievements but more importantly her outstanding potential, as she will lead Medical Command and lead as the Army surgeon general.” Odierno added that her 28 years of experience and education will prove to be “an inspiration for many others.”
Horoho greets each day and its new opportunities with the attitude that one should “wake up early every day happy – enjoying the fresh start of a new day with a clean slate.” With this self-motivation driving her on a daily basis, Horoho hopes to institute changes and reforms to healthcare that will benefit all Americans, not just those in military service.
Her 33-year Army career has seen her receive the following recognitions: the Superior Unit Citation, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, France’s National Order of Legion of Honor, Chevalier (Knight) Award, Japan’s Defense Cooperation Award Second Class and the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Drawing on her experience as a triage nurse at the Pentagon following the terrorist activity of 9/11, Horoho is dedicated to developing nurse leaders and researchers She is committed to creating and encouraging a philosophy of “collaboration and respect, where care is compassionate, and accountability is measured by impact on the patient”.
As Army Surgeon General, she will work cooperatively with other governmental leaders and leaders in the not-for-profit sector to establish preventive measures that lead to better health outcomes. Toward this end she says, “I really believe as we partner with community leaders we can improve the health of our nation.” Patricia Horoho is a forward-thinking leader, who believes in patient-centered care, evidence-based healthcare practices, and a preemptive approach to medicine.
By joining a male-dominated industry and forging a trail to the top, Patricia Horoho has set a precedent for all women. She’s an example of what can be accomplished by honing your skill, mastering your craft, and staying the course. She shattered a 200-year tradition to lead the Army in healthcare measures and reform. What can you do in your chosen field today? Future generations of girls will look back on the contributions women are making now. Reforms you make today can have a lasting impact on the present and open significant doors for future leaders.