GUMC Professor Named to Defense Health Board
November 24, 2008 – The U.S. Department of Defense has named Dr. William Blazek, S.J. to its Defense Health Board to provide independent scientific advice and recommendations on matters relating to the promotion of health and the delivery of health care to about 9.2 million members of the military and their families.
As a member of the federal advisory committee to the U.S. Secretary of Defense, the Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) professor will also look at operational programs, health policy development, health research programs and requirements for the treatment and prevention of disease and injury within the realm of the defense department.
“The questions we will address as an advisory board are the same questions any large health system would have -- and they speak to who we are as a nation,” says Blazek. “There are a number of issues facing the military health system right now that impact a huge number of people, including the impact of traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans and health issues that impact amputees.”
More than 250 nominations were reviewed by representatives from all four branches of the U.S. military, members of the White House staff and the Institute of Medicine.
”It is more critical today than ever before to have leadership on this board that understands the challenges of meeting the health needs of our U.S. service members and DOD beneficiaries,” says Carol Taylor, director of the Center for Clinical Bioethics at GUMC, where Blazek serves as an assistant professor of medicine. “First line providers are doing an excellent job of ‘saving lives’ injured in battle, but many veterans and their families face even greater health challenges upon their return home. Dr. Blazek understands both the clinical and ethical ramifications of decision-making at all levels.”
Blazek, who currently teaches courses in health care ethics to medical students, also investigates the practical application of ethical theory in the clinical workplace. His clinical work presently centers on direct provision of care to Spanish-speaking patients in the Division of Immigrant and Refugee Services of Catholic Charities in Washington, and he sits as a member scientist and vice-chair on the MedStar Research Institute-GUMC Joint Oncology Institutional Review Board.
Blazek also brings his military experience to his two-year appointment to the board. Having served for five years as an Infantry Officer in the 101st Airborne Division, the professor is a veteran of Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.