An ornate metal arch with a sign over a city street, with red brick buildings on the side and a person in uniform standing in the foreground
Lieutenant Commander Amanda Jack ’08 on Russell Sage College’s Troy campus in 2024.

Participating students join the Navy ROTC unit at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute while they earn their nursing bachelor’s at Russell Sage; both schools are in Troy, New York. 

“If anybody wants to serve, it is a wonderful opportunity to not miss out on, and you get to reap the benefits,” said Lieutenant Commander Amanda Jack ’08.

For Jack, the benefits have included her Nursing bachelor’s degree at Russell Sage and a master’s in health informatics, a career in a rapidly growing area of healthcare, and the opportunity to make a difference on three humanitarian deployments. 

Nursing Roots, Global Reach

“My grandma and mom were both nurses,” said Jack of her career inspiration. “I grew up with nursing talked about at home, at the dinner table.”

In high school, she met with military recruiters to find out more about military educational benefits and learned about the Navy ROTC’s specific program for nursing students at select colleges, including Russell Sage. 

Russell Sage was a great fit due to its highly regarded Nursing program, small size, and comfortable distance — about three hours — from her home in Altmar, New York.

Upon graduating from RSC, Jack was commissioned an officer in the Navy Nurse Corps and worked in various areas including obstetrics and gynecology, adult intensive care, and surgical settings.

As she advanced in her career, she became interested in the use of technology to improve healthcare delivery and patient outcomes and used additional military tuition benefits to earn a Master of Science in Health Informatics.

Later, as Chief Nurse Informatics Officer, she was part of the team that implemented Genesis, the electronic health record that all branches of the military now use. 

Today, she’s the Chief Health Informatics Officer, Defense Health Network, Pacific Rim.

Her area of responsibility encompasses all of the Naval military treatment facilities — hospitals and branch clinics — on the west coast of the United States, as well as in Japan and Guam.  

“Essentially, I’m the gap between the electronic health record and our staff,” she said, describing how nurses in health informatics roles bring a needed patient-care perspective to the IT world. “We have to update the computer, but we also need to give medicine. In order to give medicine nowadays, we have to scan it. So how do we do this so there’s minimal-to-no impact to the patient? That’s just one example.”

In addition to providing patient care to U.S. military members and their families and overseeing health informatics, Jack provided medical care in Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010 aboard the USNS Comfort hospital ship and she served two Pacific Partnership missions aboard the USNS Mercy hospital ship in 2016 and 2022.

The Pacific Partnership missions deliver humanitarian assistance to countries across the Pacific and Indian Oceans. On these deployments, Jack led fellow service members and international colleagues as they collaborated on hundreds of onboard surgeries and thousands of onshore patient visits in Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, East Timor, Palau, and the Solomon Islands. 

“It was showing the olive branch,” she said. “We’re here to help and provide partnership back and forth, especially medical-wise.”

Navy Experience Makes Smooth Sailing Toward Civilian Success

Jack lives in San Diego with her husband, a Marine Veteran, and their two sons, ages 5 and 6. She has 16 years of service and will promote to Commander this fall; at 20 years, she’ll decide whether to continue in the Navy or enter the civilian workforce, where her academic and leadership credentials are also in demand. 

“We always plan our careers, but never know exactly what’s to come,” she said, acknowledging that Russell Sage College and Navy ROTC gave her a great start: “It was such a wonderful opportunity and to be able to come in [to the Navy] with an education already — 10 steps forward!”

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