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Naval Hospital Oak Harbor > Command Info > Commanding Officer

Commanding Officer

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General and Forensic Psychiatrist

Captain Edward D. Simmer

Captain Simmer assumed command of Naval Hospital Oak Harbor, WA on August 31, 2012

A native of Ohio, Captain Simmer received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Hiram College in 1986, his Doctor of Medicine degree from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine via the Navy Health Professions Scholarship Program in 1990, and his Master of Public Health degree from the Eastern Virginia Medical School/Old Dominion University Consortium in 2001. He is board certified in general and forensic psychiatry.  In addition, he is certified in administrative psychiatry by the American Psychiatric Association and in group psychotherapy by the National Registry of Certified Group Psychotherapists.

Upon completion of his psychiatry internship at Naval Hospital Portsmouth in 1991, Dr. Simmer reported for duty as the General Medical Officer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise (CVN-65). He then returned to Naval Medical Center Portsmouth from 1993 – 1996 to complete his psychiatry residency training. After residency, he assumed duty as the Division Psychiatrist for Second Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

In 1998 he returned to Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, serving as a staff psychiatrist and then Division Officer for Outpatient Psychiatry before becoming the Department Head for Psychiatry in 2003. In 2005 he was appointed as the Director for Quality Management at Portsmouth.

From 1999 – 2008, Captain Simmer also served as the Head of the Navy Medicine East Special Psychiatric Rapid Intervention Team (SPRINT), one of the Navy’s mental health disaster response teams. In this role he led numerous responses to traumatic incidents, including Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina and the U.S.S. Cole (DDG-67) bombing.

He has also been active in graduate medical education, serving as the Command Intern Coordinator at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth from 2002 – 2007 and subsequently as the Navy Specialty Leader for Interns from 2007 – 2010.

In 2008 Captain Simmer was selected as the first Senior Executive Director for Psychological Health at the Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). In this role he was responsible for all psychological health efforts of DoD’s lead agency for psychological health and TBI.

While at DCoE, he served as the DoD Chair for the DoD/VA Mental Health Integration Summit, which led to 28 action items combining DoD and VA mental health efforts. CAPT Simmer continues to lead one of these efforts, the DoD/VA Integrated Mental Health Strategy focused on providing support to Service member and Veterans involved with the criminal justice system.

In June 2010, CAPT Simmer assumed duties as Executive Officer of Naval Hospital Beaufort, South Carolina. There his efforst helped lead to significant improvements in customer service and access to care, and he spearheaded the command history program.

CAPT Simmer has also deployed to Iraq as an Individual Augmentee with the Army’s 113th Combat Stress Control Company, Camp Taji Detachment and served at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as the Head of Mental Health for Joint Task Force – 160.

Dr. Simmer maintains an active clinical practice as a forensic and general psychiatrist, and has been an expert witness in numerous courts-martial worldwide. He has also presented and published in the fields of disaster and forensic psychiatry and given numerous presentations regarding post-traumatic stress and the impact of deployments on Service members and their families.

Captain Simmer's personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), Army Commendation Medal, and Navy Achievement Medal (two awards). He has also received numerous unit, campaign, and service awards.

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