Cowan_photo-white-coat-speaker.jpgSalus University’s annual White Coat Ceremony represents the transition from student to professional-in-training as first-year students from all programs receive the symbol of their profession – the white coat.
This year’s guest speaker - physician and vice admiral Michael Cowan (retired), who served 33 years in the United States Navy – will address the University’s incoming students on Friday, August 16, 2019 at 2 p.m. at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.  

“In academics, we most often celebrate the end of a journey with the graduation ceremony,” said Dr. Cowan. “But the future is more exciting than the past, and the upcoming ceremony that you and Salus University have will celebrate the beginning of your professional career. It will be a day you will always remember. I look forward to joining students, their families and future faculty of Salus University for this joyous and momentous event.”
Dr. Cowan earned his MD from Washington University, St. Louis, and completed his residency and fellowship training at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He had a long and illustrious career with the U.S. Navy, culminating in his selection as the 34th Naval Surgeon General and Chief Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in 2001.
Throughout his naval career, Dr. Cowan served as an academician, practitioner, researcher and teacher with numerous tours of duty around the world. He held numerous prominent leadership and management positions affecting nearly every aspect of peacetime and wartime healthcare. Particularly notable was his service as the joint staff surgeon, deputy executive director of TRICARE, and as Navy Surgeon General.

Dr. Cowan was a leading force for numerous DoD initiatives in information technology; the creation of the National Disaster Medical System; and the institutionalization of current Defense Policies for “Force Health Protection.” His extensive international experience includes roles as varied as the U.S. Representative to the NATO Health Council, and director of Multinational Medical Operations during Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. 

He attended the National War College as a senior research fellow and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a certified executive of the American College of Physician Executives and Distinguished Professor of Military Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. In addition to multiple military awards, the American Medical Association recognized him as the Outstanding Federal Health Executive of the Year in 1999.
Following retirement in 2004, he entered the private sector as a consultant in health information technology, following which he served as the director of the Association of Military Health Professionals (AMSUS) from which he retired in 2018.