Director of BU Institute for Health System Innovation & Policy to Deliver SAR Convocation Address

Jonathan Woodson, MD, director of the BU Institute for Health System Innovation & Policy will deliver the 2017 convocation address at Boston University College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College.


A former assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Defense, Woodson is a Larz Anderson Professor in Management and Professor of the Practice at the Questrom School of Business. He also holds appointments as professor of surgery at the BU School of Medicine and professor of health law, policy, & management at BU School of Public Health.

Woodson served from 2010-2016 as assistant secretary of defense for health affairs in the United States Department of Defense (DoD). He was the principal adviser to the Secretary of Defense for all health and force health protection related issues and ensured the effective execution of the DoD medical mission. He exercised authority, direction, and control over the Defense Health Agency, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, and the Tricare Health Plan — responsible for servicing 9.5 million beneficiaries.

Woodson was deployed in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm, in Kosovo, and in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a former senior medical officer with the National Disaster Management System, where he responded to the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. 

He has received numerous awards including the 2009 Gold Humanism in Medicine Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster.

Woodson earned a master’s in strategic studies at U.S. Army War College and a master’s degree from New York University School of Medicine. He received his bachelor’s degree from City College of New York.

The BU Sargent College convocation will take place Sunday, May 21 at 9 a.m. The ceremony will be followed by the All University Commencement Ceremony at 1 p.m. For more information about commencement activities at Boston University, visit our commencement page.