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Dr. Robert L. Mabry

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

Dr. Robert Mabry, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

Doctor Robert L. Mabry is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. In this role, he serves as the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASD HA) 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 (MHS). The MHS is responsible for providing a cost-effective, quality health benefit to 9.5 million active duty Service Members, retirees, and their families. The MHS has an approximate $50 billion annual budget and consists of a worldwide network of 59 military hospitals, 360 health clinics, private-sector health business partners, and the Uniformed Services University. 

Prior to this role, Dr. Mabry served for 35 years in the United States Army.  Enlisting at age seventeen, he served for over a decade as an Army Ranger and Special Forces Medical Sergeant where he deployed multiple times to Central and South America, Europe and the Middle East.  In 1993 he served in Mogadishu, Somalia, as a member of Task Force Ranger where he was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart following the “Blackhawk Down” battle.  His experiences as a combat medic in Somalia inspired him to become a military physician.   

Doctor Mabry earned his bachelor's degree from Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC in between deployments as a Special Forces Medic and his medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.  He completed his residency in emergency medicine and his fellowship in emergency medical services (EMS) at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. 

During his career as an Army physician, Dr. Mabry became a recognized leader in operational medicine.  Following residency, he returned to Special Forces as a battalion surgeon and was awarded the Bronze Star for operating a far-forward aid-station on the Afghan-Pakistan border during Operation Enduring Freedom.  He subsequently served in a number of positions focused on improving battlefield care.  These include the Academic Director for the Army’s Department of Combat Medic Training, Director of Trauma Care Delivery and the Director of Prehospital Care at the Joint Trauma System, and the Theater MEDEVAC Director for the Joint Theater Trauma System in Bagram, Afghanistan.  

An experienced medical educator and researcher, Dr. Mabry established the only fully accredited EMS physician fellowship training program in the DoD with a unique two-year curriculum designed to reduce preventable death on the battlefield.  He has published more than fifty scientific articles and book chapters related to combat casualty care. His work on hemorrhage control, airway management and critical care helicopter transport have been adopted as the Department of Defense standard.   

n 2015, Dr. Mabry was the first active duty Soldier to be selected for the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship.   During his fellowship, he was assigned to the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce where he helped develop legislation enabling military surgical teams to integrate into civilian trauma centers to improve wartime readiness.  He has a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and has completed the Managing Healthcare Delivery course at the Harvard Business School.   

In his final active duty assignment he commanded the Joint Medical Augmentation Unit at Fort Bragg, NC, where he led global medical operations in support of the Joint Special Operations Command.   

Doctor Mabry’s career has been dedicated to improving care for those we send into harm’s way.  He is a founding member of the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care and the architect of the Army’s program to convert its flight medics from Emergency Medical Technician-Basic to Critical Care Paramedics.  He has received numerous awards and honors for his work including:  The Major Jonathan Letterman Medical Excellence Award, the Order of Military Medical Merit, the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care Award, and he was recognized as a Distinguished Member of the 75th Ranger Regiment.  

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

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