William T. Bester, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, Brigadier General (RET)

Senior Advisor, Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program

Prior to taking his current position, Brigadier General Bester served as the Vice President for External Affairs at the Uniformed Services University (USU) of the Health Sciences. Before that, he was USU’s Acting President for six months and prior to that had a short assignment as the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. Prior to his assignment as Acting PDASD, he served as the Vice President for Distributed Learning and as the Acting Vice President for External Affairs at USU. He also served as the University’s Acting Dean of the Graduate School of Nursing from July 2006 to December 2007. Following his retirement from active duty, he served as Professor of Clinical Nursing at the University of Texas in Austin and was also the Director of Nursing Practice with the Seton Family of Hospitals in Austin, Texas.

Bester holds a BSN degree from the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota and an MSN from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Nurse Anesthesia Program at Madigan Army Medical Center.

His distinguished career in the US Army culminated in his selection as the 21st Chief of the Army Nurse Corps. While serving the Army as its Nursing Service Chief, Brigadier General Bester was also assigned as the Assistant Surgeon General for Force Projection and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Health Policy and Services (2000-2002) and as Commander of the Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (2002-2004).

Highlights of earlier assignments include sole anesthesia provider for the Cuban Refugee Operation at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas (1980); Chief Nurse of the 67th Combat Support Hospital during its deployment (1995) to Taszar, Hungary in support of Operation Joint Endeavor, later serving as Medical Task Force Commander with responsibility for all medical assets in Hungary and Croatia; and Commander, Moncrief Army Community Hospital, Ft. Jackson, South Carolina (1998).

As a Professor of Clinical Nursing at the University of Texas, Brigadier General Bester was asked (2005) to be Director of Nursing for a health care team, organized by Project Hope, to assist the victims of the tsunami in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. He joined the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal “Men in Nursing” in 2006. A sought after lecturer on topics of nursing and health care leadership and disaster relief, Brigadier General Bester has been invited as a guest speaker to over 25 conferences, workshops, and meetings during the last 5 years. He is the recipient of the Luther Christman Award (2005) and 2 honorary doctorates; College of St. Scholastica (2001) and Seton Hall University (2003). His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, 3 Legion of Merits and 4 Meritorious Service Medals. He is a member of the Maryland Nurses Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, Sigma Theta Tau International and the Association of the United States Army.