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Biography of the Chief of Staff

Chief of Staff

Assistant Surgeon General and Chief of Staff, Captain Robert DeMartino, M.D." Robert DeMartino, M.D., is the Chief of Staff to the Surgeon General and is responsible for the direction and management of the Office of the Surgeon General (OSG), including Science and Communications and Systems Integration. CAPT DeMartino plans, implements and evaluates management operations of the OSG to ensure that program objectives are met, and he provides advice and recommendations on United States Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps policy and operations to the Surgeon General, the Deputy Surgeon General and the Assistant Secretary for Health. In addition, CAPT DeMartino represents the Surgeon General and Deputy Surgeon General at regional, national, and international health and professional meetings and collaborates and communicates on matters regarding OSG activities with federal agencies and offices within and outside the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Prior to being selected as the Chief of Staff to the Surgeon General, CAPT DeMartino served as the Director, Behavioral Medicine Division in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Department of Defense (DoD).  There he served as principal behavioral health advisor to the Chief Medical Officer and engaged in a comprehensive effort to revitalize behavioral health benefits to the more than nine million beneficiaries of the DoD health care system. As the DoD chair for the DoD/Veteran’s Administration Psychological Health/Traumatic Brain Injury Work Group, CAPT DeMartino led joint Departmental efforts to improve access to care and the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of mental health services for Active Duty and Reserve Component members, Veterans, and their families. CAPT DeMartino co-chaired the DoD Addictive Substance Misuse Advisory Committee, which advised DoD medical and personnel leadership on addictive drug use deterrence, demand reduction, and the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders.

CAPT DeMartino is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He received his Baccalaureate Degree in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1981, and earned his medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine in 1985, before completing residency training in both internal medicine and psychiatry in Boston, Massachusetts. Before entering federal service he worked with war-traumatized refugees, those with serious mental illness and persons ordered by the Massachusetts courts for psychiatric evaluation.

In previous work with the DHHS, CAPT DeMartino received the Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medal for leading the development of and authoring the U.S. National Strategy for Suicide Prevention: Goals and Objectives for Action, the first such comprehensive plan created in the United States. CAPT DeMartino served on the DHHS Anti-Bioterrorism Strategic Planning Committee and contributed to the DHHS Counter-Terrorism Concept of Operations Plan. In support of that work, he guided the writing and publication of Communicating in a Crisis: Risk Communication Guidelines for Public Officials.

In response to the events of September 11, CAPT DeMartino was deployed to New York City to establish a federal mental health response team in support of the emergency response personnel participating in rescue efforts. As part of the U.S. Government humanitarian response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami, he served aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy at Banda Aceh, Indonesia. After Hurricane Katrina, CAPT DeMartino served as the DHHS Secretary’s Mental Health Lead for Louisiana in Baton Rouge.

A recipient of numerous PHS and DoD awards and special honors, Dr. DeMartino has received the Secretary’s Recognition Award for Heroism and Exceptional Service; the PHS Hazardous Duty and Foreign Duty Awards; several PHS, U.S. Navy and DoD service medals; a number of Unit Citation and Commendation Medals; two Outstanding Service Medals; the Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medal; and the Defense Superior Service Medal.