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USU Alumnus Dr. Robert Mabry Appointed Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health

Dr. Mabry instructs a class

By Sharon Holland


Retired Army Col. (Dr.) Robert Mabry was appointed to serve as the next Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, effective Sept. 21.  Mabry is a 1999 graduate of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. In his new role, Mabry will serve as the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs for clinical policies and programs, including oversight of quality assessment/quality improvement, patient safety, mental health services and population-based health care management across the Military Health System. 

Mabry brings significant leadership and experience to the position. As an Army physician, he contributed to the development of the Combat Application Tourniquet, brought about landmark changes in the Army’s Combat Lifesaver Program, and was at the forefront of advancing the understanding and treatment of combat airway injuries. He served as the program director of the Military Emergency Medical Services and Disaster Medicine Fellowship, the largest EMS fellowship in the nation, and as the director of Trauma Care Delivery at the Department of Defense Trauma Center of Excellence at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Dr. Robert Mabry, a USU class of 1999 graduate, has been appointed as
the new Principal Deputy 
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health
Affairs. (Courtesy photo)
Mabry served as the Command Surgeon for the Joint Special Operations Command, and from 2015-2016, he was a Robert Woods Johnson Health Policy Fellow, serving with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.  

Mabry deployed overseas multiple times and participated in combat operations as the senior search and rescue medic with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia, during the "Blackhawk Down" battle in 1993, as a Special Forces battalion surgeon during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2005, and as the Joint Theater Trauma System Prehospital medical director again in Afghanistan in 2010. 

He served as president of the Special Operations Medical Association and is a founding member of the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Emergency Medicine, and was recently named one of the inaugural USU School of Medicine Distinguished Alumni recognition recipients. 

“Dr. Mabry’s extensive experience and expertise make him a perfect fit for this role. His appointment as the new Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary epitomizes the caliber of our alumni and the emphasis we place on leadership at USU and we are excited as he begins his new duties to help lead the Military Health System into the next decade. I am confident that with his leadership, our service members, retirees, and their families will continue to receive the best health care available,” said Dr. Richard Thomas, president of USU.  “We look forward to supporting Dr. Mabry as PDASD and offer our sincere congratulations on his appointment.”

Dr. Mabry stands with mountains in the background
Ret. Army Col. (Dr.) Robert Mabry, the new Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, brings a strong
operational military background to his 
new position. (Courtesy photo)