FALLS CHURCH, Va. (Army News Service, Dec. 14, 2015) -- Maj. Gen. Nadja West was sworn in Friday as the Army's first African-American surgeon general.

When she pins on her third star, West will become the Army's first female African-American lieutenant general and the highest-ranking woman to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

The Senate confirmed West Thursday for the position and Acting Army Secretary Eric Fanning administered the oath of office to her Friday, making her the Army's 44th surgeon general and commanding general of U.S. Army Medical Command, or MEDCOM.

West most recently served as the Joint Staff surgeon at the Pentagon.

The Army surgeon general provides advice and assistance to the Army secretary and chief of staff on all health care matters pertaining to the U.S. Army and its military health care system.

West will be responsible for development, policy direction, organization and overall management of an integrated Army-wide health service system and is the medical materiel developer for the Army. These duties include formulating policy regulations on health service support, health hazard assessment and the establishment of health standards.

Dual-hatted as the MEDCOM commanding general, West will oversee more than 48 medical treatment facilities providing care to nearly four million active-duty members of all services, retirees and their Family members. MEDCOM is composed of three regional health commands, the Medical Research and Materiel Command, and Army Medical Department Center and School.

West holds a bachelor of science in engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a doctorate of medicine from George Washington University School of Medicine. She has held previous assignments as commanding general of Europe Regional Medical Command; commander of Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and division surgeon, 1st Armored Division, Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany.

West hails from Washington, D.C., and finished high school at the Academy of the Holy Names in Silver Spring, Maryland.

(Editor's note: Information based on a news release from the Office of the Surgeon General.)