The Department of Defense announced today that Dr. S. Ward Casscells has assumed the duties as assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.
In this position, Casscells will be responsible for overall leadership of the Military Health System, serve as the principal advisor to the secretary of defense for all DoD health policies and programs and oversee all DoD health resources.
Prior to his appointment, Casscells was a distinguished professor and vice president of biotechnology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and director of clinical research at the Texas Heart Institute.
Casscells received three Commandant’s Medals from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. For his work on telemedicine and disaster medicine, Casscells received the General Maxwell Thurman Award. As an advisor to the Army surgeon general for Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, Casscells received the Army Achievement Medal.
Casscells returned last December from a three-month tour of duty in Iraq, where he helped create a protocol for health policy and medical administration in the region. He deployed to the Middle East and Asia to study avian influenza and assess the possibility of a pandemic.
He worked as the Army Medical Command’s senior medical advisor for avian flu and pandemic flu. He also directed the Army’s Disaster Relief and Emergency Medical Services Program and the Army’s Texas Training and Technology against Trauma and Terrorism Program.