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USU Researchers Commended for Innovation, Leadership with 2021 MHSRS Awards

Dr. Patricia A. Deuster, director of USU’s Consortium for Health and Military Performance, accepts the Distinguished Service Award at a town hall meeting Sept. 23, 2021.

By Dillon Parker


Scientists from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) were recognized with four awards from the 2021 Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS) for their significant contributions to research focused specifically on the unique medical needs of the warfighter. 

The typically annual MHSRS provides an avenue for scientists to present new knowledge from military-specific research as the DOD’s foremost scientific meeting. The MHSRS offers a collaborative setting for the exchange of information between military providers, research and academic scientists, international partners, and industry. Although this year’s conference was canceled due to COVID-19, notable accomplishments by military and civilian researchers were still highlighted by the meeting's organizers through a number of awards.

"Researchers and medical providers throughout the DOD continue to demonstrate their impressive talents and leadership, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to research the health and well-being of our nation's warfighters," says Dr. Terry Adirim, acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. "Readiness remains our top priority while we remain committed to ensuring the health and welfare of our service members, their families, and retirees. These remarkable individuals and teams are to be commended for their devotion to military medicine."

Dr. David Tribble, science director at USU's Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program (IDCRP), accepts the Distinguished Service Award at a town hall meeting Sept. 23, 2021. (Photo credit: Courtesy of Tom Balfour, USU)
Dr. David Tribble, science director at USU's Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program (IDCRP), accepts the Distinguished Service Award at a town hall
meeting Sept. 23, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Tom Balfour, USU)

Among those honored from USU were Dr. Patricia A. Deuster, director of the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP), and Dr. David Tribble, science director of USU’s Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program (IDCRP), who each received the Distinguished Service Award. 

“The MHSRS Distinguished Service Award is designed to recognize individuals who, over the years, have contributed significantly to the success of military health system (MHS) research,” says Dr. Francis O’Connor, CHAMP’s medical director, who nominated Deuster for the award. “The award highlights substantial contributions above and beyond expectations to advance the growth of MHS research, as well as outstanding leadership in pursuit of excellence for country and service.”

Dr. Paul Pasquina, chair of USU's Department of Physical Medicine &  Rehabilitation, accepts an achievement award at a town hall meeting Sept. 23, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Tom Balfour, USU)
Dr. Paul Pasquina, chair of USU's Department of Physical Medicine & 
Rehabilitation, accepts an achievement award at a town hall meeting Sept.
23, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Tom Balfour, USU)
Deuster has nearly 39 years of outstanding service researching health, nutrition, human physiology, and human performance. Having published more than 260 peer-reviewed papers in these fields, Deuster has examined the role of physical activity, nutrition, and stress reactivity in health and disease as a function of gender, ethnicity, and body weight. 

“Dr. Deuster is an extraordinary colleague with an unparalleled record of distinguished service to military medicine and the warfighter,” says O’Connor. “Her leadership in the field of human performance cannot be overstated, she is a tireless educator, collaborator, and mentor who has inspired a generation of leaders.”

Tribble is recognized for numerous key research contributions over his 34 years of service, having made a significant operational impact in the care and prevention of infectious diseases. Tribble’s research has generated or improved 21 clinical practice guidelines, as well as four DOD-level policies. 

“Dr. Tribble has made numerous high-impact contributions through research productivity and academic leadership over a distinguished career serving the Department of Defense,” says Navy Capt. (Dr.) Timothy Burgess, IDCRP director. “His career represents truly distinguished service to the MHS and the Nation.”

Several USU scientists were also identified for their contributions to innovative team research projects in 2021. Dr. Paul Pasquina, chair of USU’s Department of Physical Medicine and  Rehabilitation, was recognized as a principal investigator on the Concussion Assessment Research and Education Consortium Team, which is acknowledged for its significant contributions to research on traumatic brain injury that will have a tremendous impact on caring for warfighters with these types of injuries.

Navy Capt. (Dr.) Tim Burgess (right), USU's IDCRP director, and Dr. Brian Agan (left), IDCRP deputy science director are photographed at USU after receiving recognition for their part in the award winning EPICC COVID-19 Cohort Team. (Photo courtesy of IDCRP)
Navy Capt. (Dr.) Tim Burgess (right), USU's IDCRP director, and Dr. Brian Agan (left), IDCRP deputy science director are photographed at USU after
receiving recognition for their part in the award winning EPICC COVID-19 Cohort Team. (Photo courtesy of IDCRP)

Hundreds of scientists from across the country including a number from USU also received a group award as a part of the Epidemiology, Immunology, and Clinical Characteristics of Emerging Infectious Diseases with Pandemic Potential (EPICC) COVID-19 Cohort Team, with USU's Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program as the team lead. The EPICC team numbers more than 100 members from study sites, including Brooke Army Medical Center, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Madigan Army Medical Center, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Naval Medical Center San Diego, Tripler Army Medical Center, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Womack Army Medical Center, and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. They enrolled more than 3,000 probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 at 10 military hospitals and clinics, collected data on the risk factors of severe COVID-19, and the impact of the disease on performance and lost duty days among Active Duty subjects. 

Among the EPICC research team members at USU are: Dr. Brian Agan, Anissa Austin, Victoria Barron, Dr. Christopher Broder, Navy Capt. (Dr.) Timothy Burgess, Dr. Cylia Byrne, Dr. Kevin Chung, Dr. Christian Cole, Janice Darden, Julian Davies, Dr. Samuel Davis, Dr. Stephen John Dumler, Caroline English, Dr. Nusrat Epsi, Christy Fox, Tigi Girma, Army Col. (Dr.) Patrick Hickey, Dr. Eric Laing, Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Jeffrey Livezey, Dr. Allison Malloy, Amber Michel, Dr. Edward Mitre, Carlos Morales, Dr. Lev Nevo, Army Col. (Dr.) Thomas Oliver, Chris Olsen, Edward Parmalee, Dr. Simon Pollett, Stephanie Richard, Julia Rozman, Dr. Jennifer Rusiecki, Margaret Sanchez-Edwards, Dr. Ann Scher, Cmdr. (Dr.) Mark Simons, Dr. Andrew Snow, Dr. David Tribble, Kalyani Telu, and Lola Ulomi.