Viking Taps Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, M.D., as Chief Health Officer

Viking has named Dr. Raquel Bono, retired vice admiral of the U.S. Navy Medical Corps, as its new chief health officer, and also recently installed a new PCR laboratory for COVID-19 testing on Viking Star; the ship is shown in the photo above with Viking Sea in Santorini, Greece.

Viking has hired Raquel Bono, M.D. as the company’s chief health officer. A board-certified trauma surgeon and retired vice admiral of the United States Navy Medical Corps, Dr. Bono most recently led Washington State’s medical and healthcare systems response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As principal at RCB Consulting, she partnered with Viking earlier this year to help develop and define new protocol enhancements. As the line's new chief health officer, Dr. Bono will be instrumental in Viking’s restart of operations, with a focus on public health.

“Dr. Bono brings valuable perspective informed by an extraordinary career that has included decorated military service, trauma surgery and health care administration," said Torstein Hagen, Viking's chairman. "Additionally, her work as the head of Washington state’s COVID-19 health care response team makes her uniquely qualified to be our chief health officer as we finalize plans for operating cruises safely."

Hagen continued: “We are proud to officially welcome Dr. Bono to the Viking family, and we will soon be sharing more details about the 'Viking Health & Safety Program,' which we believe is one of the most well-researched and comprehensive COVID-19 prevention and mitigation plans in the travel industry.”

Dr. Bono said she was delighted to join the Viking family and is "proud of the significant work we have already done together." She pledged to continue to create the safest environment possible for Viking’s guests and crew members, while also "contributing to the collective public health efforts to address COVID-19."

Commissioned in June 1979, Dr. Bono received her bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin and Doctor of Medicine from the School of Medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She completed a surgical internship and general surgery residency at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and a trauma and critical care fellowship at the Eastern Virginia Graduate School of Medicine in Norfolk, VA.

In the U.S. military, she saw duty in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and is the first female Navy medical officer to have achieved three-star rank. As chief executive officer and director for the Defense Health Agency (DHA), Dr. Bono led a joint, integrated combat support agency that enables all branches of the U.S. military medical services to provide health care services to combatant commands in times of both peace and war.

Dr. Bono integrated an unprecedented $50 billion worldwide health care enterprise for the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. That effort encompassed 50 hospitals and 300 clinics that provide care to 9.5 million military personnel. She had oversight for the U.S. Department of Defense's deployment of the electronic health record system as well as facilitated the collaboration between the largest federated health systems of the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Dr. Bono holds an MBA from the Carson College of Business from Washington State University, is a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a senior fellow with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Personal decorations include a Defense Distinguished Service Medal, three Defense Superior Service Medals, three Legion of Merit Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, and two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals.

Previously, Viking announced that it had become the first cruise line to complete the installation of a full-scale polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing laboratory at sea. The laboratory onboard Viking Star has enough capacity for up to daily testing of every crew member and guest, which provides flexibility to respond to COVID-19 prevalence levels around the world.

In the coming months, Viking will complete the installation of PCR laboratories on the remainder of its ocean ships – and will also have a strong network of shoreside laboratories for its river ships.

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