Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Junior Officer Advisory Group

VADM Richard H. Carmona Inspiration Award

The VADM Richard H. Carmona Inspiration Award recognizes an active duty or retired Senior Officer who exemplifies outstanding leadership by example, mentorship and empowerment of junior officers, unwavering support of the Commissioned Corps and its mission, and overall inspiration and motivation to the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) community. (Nominations are only accepted from junior officers.) 

The criteria for receiving the award are: providing outstanding support to help junior officers develop within the USPHS; providing mentorship exceeding the typical expectations of a leader; acting as a role model by displaying the qualities of superior officership; exemplifying superior leadership in all activities, both within and outside of position duties and other Commissioned Corps related activities; and offering inspiration for junior officers to grow not just as officers, but as individuals.

The 2023 recipient of the VADM Richard H. Carmona Inspiration Award is CAPT Jena Vedder!


CAPT Vedder has served as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) for more than 17 years, during which time she has been assigned to the National Institutes of Health and detailed to both the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs. She held positions as a Clinical Research Nurse in both the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute of Mental Health. Within the Department of Defense,  she’s held positions as Service Chief of Clinical Operations and Clinical Trial Coordinator at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, Program Manager of the Mental Health Memorandum of Agreement,  Chief of the Department of Defense Liaison Program Office, and Acting Chief, Clinical Quality Improvement Program. CAPT Vedder’s most recent assignment brought her to the VA, where she is serving as a Liaison Officer.   CAPT Vedder was instrumental in establishing USPHS Mental Health Teams (MHTs) in 2006 and is a co-author of the original Concept of Operations for MHTs. She served as the Deputy Team Commander of MHT-1 and deployed on 15 USPHS missions.

CAPT Vedder also represented the Defense Health Agency in planning comprehensive health service support for the National Capital Region during the 58th Presidential Inauguration. Prior to joining the USPHS, CAPT Vedder served as a nurse in the United States Navy (USN). Her USN assignments included charge and staff nurse positions at Naval Hospital Bremerton, Washington State and National Naval Medical Center, San Diego. She also deployed as a US Navy Nurse in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and served on the USNS Mercy.

CAPT Vedder received her BSN from Georgetown University in 2001 and completed an MS in psychology at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology in 2004. She is currently licensed as a nurse in Virginia and Washington State. CAPT Vedder has numerous military and USPHS decorations and awards including a USPHS Meritorious Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, a USPHS Commendation Medal, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, three USPHS Achievement Medals, a Joint Service Achievement Medal, two Joint Meritorious Unit Awards, Navy Unit Commendation, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Defense Health Agency Badge, the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge, and the Field Medical Readiness Badge. She was recognized by the state of the Virginia as one of the “40 under 40 Emerging Leaders in Nursing” and by the Military Health System with the 2019 Military Nursing Leadership Excellence Award.   CAPT Vedder is married to an Active-Duty Army Officer and has two children, Matthew and MacKenzie. 

In her off-duty hours she enjoys spending time with her family, exploring the outdoors and riding horses. 

Page Last Modified on 6/2/2023

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