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Commander Sonya Waters, MD Chair, Medical Executive Committee

U.S. Navy, Naval Hospital Rota

Commander Sonya Waters has a successful career as an undersea medical officer and orthopedic surgeon. She earned a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Connecticut, School of Medicine in Farmington, Connecticut. Following graduation, she completed an internship in General Surgery followed by a research fellowship in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego.

Waters was commissioned as a Naval Officer by way of Officer Indoctrination School. This was followed by entering dive school at the Naval Undersea Medical Institute in Groton, Connecticut. She graduated as the Navy’s first African-American female Dive Medical Officer/Undersea Medical Officer.

Waters began her duties as an Undersea Medical Officer on the USS Frank Cable (AS-40). During that time, Waters was a Surface Warfare Medical Department Officer. When her tour with the USS Frank Cable was complete, Waters was chosen for Orthopedic Surgery residency training at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.

Staff Orthopedic Surgeon at the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa was her first assignment following the residency. She was later promoted to Orthopedic Surgery and Podiatry Department Head.

During Operation Enduring Freedom, Waters served as an Orthopedic Surgeon and Logistics Acquisition Officer. Her contributions were invaluable, as she saved the limbs and lives of coalition forces and Afghan civilians.

Waters has received several honors due to her bravery and medical skill. Her honors include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal among others.


Commander Kanti Ford
Senior Medical Officer
U.S. Navy

Commander Kanti Ford joined the U.S. Navy after graduating from Yale University in 1993. She was commissioned as an Ensign in the Medical Corps. Ford subsequently attended the Officer Indoctrination School and was assigned to Naval Hospital – Oak Harbor.

Upon graduating from the UCLA-Drew Medical Program and completing a residency, Ford began her first Navy assignment as a staff physician at Naval Hospital Twentynine Psalms.

Following her time at Naval Hospital Twentynine Psalms, Ford filled a position at BMC Iwakuni aboard MCAS Iwakuni. She was a Substance Abuse Counseling Officer, and the only Sexual Assault Forensics Examiner and Senior Medical Officer for the base.

Because of her work ethic and medical skills, Ford was selected for an Adolescent Medicine Fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. She was also accepted into the Master’s Degree program in Epidemiology at the University of Cincinnati.

Her participation in the Fellowship was successful and resulted in authoring a chapter in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Text, a presentation on pubertal development at the Society of Adolescent Medicine, and publication of her research in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

During her last operational tour, she served as the Acting Wing Surgeon on multiple occasions. The Acting Wing Surgeon (AWS) provides medical advice and care for more than 10,000 marines and sailors. The AWS also provides leadership for flight surgeons and general medical officers for the Marine Air Wing.

Ford has received two Navy Commendation Awards for her contributions to medicine.

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