Surgeon Commander Jo Keogh OBE


Born in Wiltshire and educated in Scotland and Devon, Jo studied Medicine at Kings College and, after building enduring friendships as an Honorary Midshipman in the London University Royal Navy Unit, joined the RN in 1996.

After initial posts as a junior doctor at Royal Hospital Hasler she spent several years in seagoing appointments in Type 22 and Type 23 Frigates (MONMOUTH, SHEFFIELD, CORNWALL, and SOMERSET) and at HMS Drake and RNAS Yeovilton before returning to the NHS for basic surgical training in Portsmouth and specialist radiology training in East Anglia. Appointed to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine as a Consultant Radiologist in 2010, she subsequently deployed on multiple tours of Afghanistan between 2011 and 2013 including clinically in the Bastion Role 3 hospital, as the NATO Chief Medical Planner in Kabul and for six months working with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). She was recognised for her contribution to American Army medical planning with the award of a US Defense Meritorious Service Medal in 2013 and the following year an OBE for her work in leading development of ANSF medical capabilities in Helmand. Eventually heading back to the UK, in 2014 she developed a novel first-aid training and equipment package for Ukrainian security forces on Op ORBITAL; this delivered a high-profile success and enhanced her interest in Defence Engagement, the subject of her MA Dissertation on Advanced Command and Staff Course.

Assignment to Navy Command HQ in 2016 provided opportunity to develop data driven capability projects. This included co-authoring the inaugural Health and Wellbeing Strategy for the RN, with ‘Mental Fitness’, Mindfulness and the importance of human maintenance particular personal passions. In Command of Joint Hospital Group (South West) in Plymouth since August 2019, and throughout the Covid 19 pandemic, she was proud to be listed in the Financial Times 2020 Kindness & Leadership, 50 Leading Lights in the UK. Having completed a total renovation of a dilapidated Victorian house in Bath, Jo enjoys photography and historical fiction while supporting a worldwide network of friends and seven goddaughters. When not coming up with ‘good ideas’ in the office she can be found leisurely exploring England’s footpaths to compensate for the impact of her experimental cookery habits.