Charles L. Rice, M.D., is performing the duties of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs; and is the Acting Director, TRICARE Management Activity. In this role, Dr. Rice administers the $50 billion Military Health System (MHS) and serves as principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense for health issues. The MHS comprises over 133,000 military and civilian doctors, nurses, medical educators, researchers, health care providers, allied health professionals, and health administration personnel worldwide, providing our nation with an unequalled integrated healthcare delivery, expeditionary medical, educational, and research capability.
Dr. Rice continues as President of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). Before assuming his role at USUHS, Dr. Rice, a Navy-trained surgeon and researcher, served as the vice chancellor for health affairs at the University of Illinois, Chicago, from 1999-2004. Prior to that, he was vice dean of the UIC College of Medicine, as well as a professor of surgery and professor of physiology and biophysics.
Originally from Atlanta, Ga., Dr. Rice graduated with an A.B. from the University of Georgia in 1964 and earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia in 1968. He interned at Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C. He completed his general surgery residency at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., followed by a research fellowship at the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda.
Dr. Rice’s research interests, many funded by the National Institutes of Health, have been in the biology of lung injury and in mechanisms of cell and tissue injury in shock. His clinical focus has been in trauma and critical care. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Surgical Association and the Society of University Surgeons, and is a past president of the Shock Society. Dr. Rice was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow and served as a Legislative Assistant to Senator Thomas A. Daschle (D-SD) from 1991 to 1992. He was a member of the Board of the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education from 1998 to 2004 and served as its Chair from 2002 to 2004. Dr. Rice has also been a Petersdorf Scholar-in-Residence at the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Dr. Rice was commissioned as an ensign in the Naval Reserve Medical Corps in 1966. Three years later, he transferred into the regular Navy and quickly rose through the ranks. He left active duty, but remained in the Naval Reserve, through which he was promoted to Captain in 1991. He retired in 2003. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit.
In addition to appointments at the University of Illinois, Chicago, Dr. Rice has served on the faculty of the University of Chicago, the University of Washington, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He has spoken widely to a variety of national audiences, and has authored numerous scientific papers, abstracts, and medical texts.