Lieutenant General Nadja West, was recently honored in an official ceremony formalizing her promotion to three-star general, making her the first African American woman to achieve that rank in the United States Army. She is also the highest-ranking woman of any race to have graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
“I was once an orphan with an uncertain future,” West told theGrio. “And I am incredibly honored and humbled to lead such a distinguished team of dedicated professionals who are entrusted with the care of our nation’s sons and daughters, veterans, and family members.”
West became the first black surgeon general, Dec. 14, 2015. In 2013, West was also the first black female major general of the Army's active component, and was Army Medicine's first African-American female two-star general. West is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. She attended the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., where she earned a Doctorate of Medicine degree.
West completed her Family Medicine internship and residency at Martin Army Hospital. She deployed during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield while assigned there. West finished her residency in dermatology at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and University of Colorado Medical Center. She was Chief, Dermatology Service at Heidelberg Army Hospital in Germany. West obtained a Master of Science in National Security Strategy. Of her military medical career, West says, "If you want to feel inspired about what military medicine does, see how appreciative these men and women are for the care they’ve received. It’s right here. It’s the reason the military health system exists: to take care of brave men and women like them."
West's previous command positions include Commanding General, Europe Regional Medical Command; Commander, Womack Army Medical Center; and Division Surgeon, 1st Armored Division, Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany. West was also Joint Staff Surgeon, on the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, DC.
West is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Family Physicians.