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Immediate Release

The Department of Defense Appoints Dr. Karin A. Orvis as New Director, Defense Suicide Prevention Office

Washington, DC – (DOD – March 13, 2019) Karin A. Orvis, Ph.D., has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service as the Director of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office (DSPO), a component of the Defense Human Resources Activity, aligned to the Office of Force Resiliency for policy direction.  She will oversee policy, oversight, and advocacy of the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) suicide prevention programs.

Dr. Orvis brings nearly 20 years of experience within the federal government, academia, and private sector.  She transitioned to the federal government after four years as a university assistant professor at Old Dominion University.  During her tenure as the program manager of the Basic Research program at the U.S. Army Research Institute for Behavioral and Social Sciences, she was responsible for the overall strategic direction, program planning and sustainment of six research portfolios.

Most recently, Dr. Orvis served as the acting principal director of Military Community and Family Policy within the DOD, where she was responsible for the policy, oversight, and advocacy of military community quality-of-life programs for service members and their families.  Dr. Orvis also previously served as the director of the Transition to Veterans Program Office (TVPO), where she was instrumental in redesigning the DOD Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which ensures that service members are 'career ready' and prepared to transition to civilian life upon separation from active duty.

Dr. Orvis holds a doctorate and a master of arts in industrial/organizational psychology from George Mason University, and a bachelor of science in psychology from Michigan State University.  She has received various awards throughout her career including the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service, Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence, Department of the Army Commander's Award for Civilian Service and American Society for Training and Development Dissertation Award.  Her work has been published in journals such as Leadership Quarterly, Military Psychology, Journal of Applied Psychology, and the International Journal of Training and Development.

"Dr. Orvis was selected from a group of extremely well qualified candidates and is a welcome addition to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Personnel and Readiness senior leadership team.  She brings a wealth of knowledge from her previous assignments, and I am confident that her leadership and experience will be a tremendous asset to the DSPO team as they continue their incredibly important work." William H. Booth, director, Defense Human Resources Activity

About the Defense Suicide Prevention Office

Established in 2011, DSPO serves as the government oversight authority for the strategic development, implementation, centralization, standardization, communication, and evaluation of the DOD suicide and risk reduction programs, policies, and surveillance activities to reduce the impact of suicide on Service members and their families.

If you, or someone you know, needs help, support is available 24/7.  Service members and their families can call Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647, or chat at Service members, veterans, and their loved ones can also call the Military and Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat at, or text to 838255.  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available to anyone by calling 1-800-273-8255.