Inside USD

Taking Command

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A USD graduate is the first nurse to be named commanding officer of the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego.

Capt. Jacqueline D. Rychnovsky, who earned her PhD from USD’s Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science in 2004, was officially installed as commander at a ceremony on July 25.

The Naval Health Research Center serves as a leading research and development laboratory for the Department of Defense. It supports fleet readiness through research, development, test and evaluation on the biomedical and psychological factors affecting the performance of operational warfighters and field medical personnel.

Most of the work conducted at the facility is in the advanced development stage and requires close continuous interaction with operational units of the Navy, Marine Corps and DoD.

Studies include epidemiological analyses on the effects of deployments and occupational exposures on mental and physical health, physical readiness standards and strategies to reduce physical training injuries, physical and cognitive performance within austere operational environments, and modeling and simulation to support field medical logistics and treatment facility configurations.

Current initiatives include the Millennium Cohort Study (a 22-year prospective study of more than 150,000 DoD personnel), the Navy/Marine Corps Combat Trauma Registry (collecting traumatic and non-traumatic medical treatment data from far-forward Level 1 and Level 2 medical treatment facilities) and the study of combat operational stress reactions and post-traumatic stress disorder among deployers.

A native of Liberty, Missouri, Rychnovsky joined the Navy in 1990 at the rank of lieutenant junior grade. She earned her master’s degree in nursing from the University of Florida before coming to USD where she wrote her doctoral dissertation on “Postpartum Fatigue in the Active Duty Military Woman.”

She served as head of nursing research at the Naval Medical Center San Diego, along with a six-month tour as the head of inpatient nursing at the Expeditionary Medical Facility at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.

Following her deployment she completed a Health Policy Fellowship in the office of U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii with a follow-on tour as the Assistant Director, Nurse Corps Policy and Practice, where she worked for the Navy Nurse Corps Director and Navy Surgeon General at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, forming nursing policy and practice.

This year, she completed her Executive Officer Tour at the U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka, the most geographically dispersed command in Navy Medicine.

Rychnovsky’s personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (3 stars); Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (one star); the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal and numerous unit, tour  and deployment awards.

In 2012, she received the Author E. Hughes Award for Career Achievement from the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science.

– Liz Harman

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