WHAT WE DO

The Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) optimizes the operational readiness and health of our armed forces by conducting research, development, testing, and evaluation to inform Department of Defense (DoD) policy. We have been designated the DoD Deployment Health Research Center since 1999. We conduct science that spans the spectrum from physical readiness to joint medical planning, to wounded warrior recovery and behavioral health interventions, all focusing on the health, readiness, and well-being of our nation’s military members and their families. We conduct research that is operationally relevant and driven by fleet requirements. Our core research areas include Operational Readiness and Health, Military Population Health, and Operational Infectious Diseases. We are one of eight laboratories affiliated with the Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, within the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. Together, we support military mission readiness with research and development that delivers high-value, high-impact solutions to the health and readiness challenges our military population faces on the battlefield, at sea, on foreign shores, and at home.

 

OUR MISSION

To optimize operational readiness and warfighter health by informing DoD policy through research excellence.

OUR VISION

To be the premier deployment health research center for the DoD.


WHO WE ARE

NHRC’s team includes researchers and scientists whose expertise includes physiology, microbiology, biomedical engineering, psychology, epidemiology, and software engineering. Our staff is a mix of active duty service members, federal civil service employees, and contractors who are dedicated to our vision of being the DoD’s premier operational health research center.

WHERE WE ARE

We are located aboard Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego, California, with access to more than 95,000 uniformed service members, world-class universities, industry leaders, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, Naval Medical Center San Diego, and Navy Medicine West. Housed in 24 historic WWII-era military barracks, our San Diego location is ideal, placing us in proximity to a variety of potential research populations.


CO

COMMANDING OFFICER

Captain Dennis J. Faix

Medical Service Corps, United States Navy
Commanding Officer
Naval Health Research Center


CAPT Faix graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1996, and completed a 3-year tour as a General Medical Officer with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, 1st Marine Air Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Iwakuni, Japan in 2000. Dr. Faix then obtained a Master in Public Health from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences with emphases in Health Care Administration and Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

In 2002, after graduating from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Preventive Medicine Residency, Dr. Faix was stationed at Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit-FIVE, San Diego, CA where he deployed as Officer in Charge of a Forward Deployed Preventive Medicine Unit in Al Asad, Iraq, performing theater-wide public health support for DoD personnel.

From 2006-2012 he was assigned to the Department of Respiratory Disease Research, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA where he led surveillance and research efforts for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of operationally relevant infectious diseases such as adenovirus, influenza and norovirus. He was instrumental in NHRC's contribution to the FDA-approval and reestablishment of the adenovirus vaccine among all military recruits, and in the identification of the first two cases of pandemic H1N1 influenza and the national response to the pandemic.

CAPT Faix deployed to Baghdad, Iraq as an individual augmentee and served as the theater Preventive Medicine consultant for Operation Iraqi Freedom for 8 months in 2008. Dr. Faix was then seconded to the World Health Organization where he worked in Alert and Response Operations, Division of Communicable Disease, Health Security, and Environment at the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe as the WHO/Europe advocate and liaison for civil-military interaction, specifically working in public health surveillance and capacity building in member states under the International Health Regulations (2005) and in support of the Global Health Security Agenda. From 2014-2017 he served as the Director of Military Population Health at the Naval Health Research Center, and was the principal investigator of the Millennium Cohort Study, the largest prospective cohort study in military history.

Subsequently Dr. Faix served as the head of Clinical Research for Navy Medical Research Unit-TWO, Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 2017-2019 where his research interests included the epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of operationally relevant health issues with the goal of keeping service members and their families healthy.

In 2019 CAPT Faix reported as the Executive Officer to Navy Medical Research Unit Dayton in support of its mission to protect and optimize the readiness, performance, and survivability of the naval and joint warfighter by conducting operationally relevant environmental health effects, toxicology, and aerospace medical research.
 

XO

EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Captain Kellie L. McMullen, Ph.D.

Medical Service Corps, United States Navy
Executive Officer
Naval Health Research Center


CAPT Kellie McMullen earned a B.S. in Biology from Virginia Tech in 1992 and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Human Genetics from Baylor College of Medicine in 1998. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Baylor College of Medicine from 1999–2000, studying the use of neurobehavioral assays and mouse knockout technology to discover new genes involved in neuropsychiatric disorders. Prior to receiving a commission in 2003, Dr. McMullen worked in the biotech industry.

Dr. McMullen was commissioned in 2003 and assigned to the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC), Bethesda, MD, from 2004–2008, where she served as the branch head of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, Assistant Director of Graduate Professional Education, and as Flag Aide to RADM Richard R. Jeffries while he served as the Commanding Officer of NNMC and the Medical Officer of the Marine Corps. From 2009–2012, Dr. McMullen was assigned to Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit FIVE, San Diego, CA, and served as the Department Head for Operations and Laboratory Services during her tenure. She was assigned to the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) in San Diego from 2012–2016, where she held leadership roles in the Operational Infectious Diseases Directorate and the DoD HIV/AIDS Prevention Program, and started and served as Head of the Science Support Department.

From 2016–2018, Dr. McMullen was assigned to Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3) in Cairo, Egypt, and served as the interim Executive Officer and Science Director. She was assigned to the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) in Silver Spring, MD, and served from 2018–2019 as the Deputy Director of Field Lab Operations (the primary liaison with Navy overseas laboratories) and as the Navy lead for the Joint West Africa Research Group (JWARG). Dr. McMullen served as the Military Assistant to the Executive Director, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, from 2019–2022, during which time she was detailed to the DoD COVID-19 Task Force – Diagnostics & Testing as the Navy Service Lead and served as the Naval Medical Forces Pacific R&D Liaison Officer (LNO).

In June 2022, CAPT McMullen reported to the Naval Health Research Center as the Executive Officer.
Her military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), and the Navy Achievement Medal (three awards).
 

PRINCIPAL DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH

Dr. Kenneth C. Earhart

Principal Director of Research
Naval Health Research Center

Dr. Kenneth C. “Ken” Earhart is the Science Director and senior civilian at the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC), located on Naval Base Point Loma, San Diego, California. NHRC is part of the U.S. Navy’s medical research and development enterprise and is the Department of Defense’s Center for Deployment Health Research, carrying out a diverse portfolio focused on the health and readiness of our armed forces and their families.

A native of Michigan, Earhart holds an M.D. from Wayne State University and a B.S. from Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University. He studied at Konan University, in Kobe, Japan, and at the Naval Undersea Medical Institute in Groton, Connecticut. He trained in internal medicine, infectious diseases and tropical medicine at Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD).

Earhart has spent a career in public service, working in health care, health research and global health. During his 22 years as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy, he was assigned to Submarine Group 7/CTF-74, in Yokosuka, Japan as the 7th Fleet diving and submarine medical officer; NMCSD as a member of the teaching faculty, head of the travel medicine clinic, and assistant program director and IRB chair; USNS Mercy (TAH-19) as clinical staff and officer in charge, chemical biological response team; U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, Cairo, Egypt, as deputy director and director disease surveillance program, director viral and zoonotic diseases research program, executive officer and commanding officer, where he led infectious disease research operations throughout the Middle East, Eastern Europe, North and West Africa, and Central Asia.

Following retirement from the U.S. Navy, he served as the founding director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Global Disease Detection (GDD) Regional Center in New Delhi, India, from 2010 to 2014, where he was also CDC’s country director and helped establish and jointly direct the GDD India Centre, a partnership between the U.S. CDC and India’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to address emerging and re-emerging diseases in South Asia.

Prior to joining NHRC in 2016, Earhart served as the U.S. health attaché to China. As a health diplomat posted to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, he represented the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, served as the senior public health advisor to the ambassador, and worked to advance collaboration at the policy level for U.S.-China health engagement, including the first historic agreement between the U.S. and China on development cooperation, focusing on joint public health capacity building in Africa.

Earhart has published over 70 peer–reviewed, scientific articles and numerous presentations. He received distinguished alumni awards from his alma maters Lyman Briggs College (2009 as commencement speaker) and Michigan State University (2011).

His personal awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star, and Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. He was also awarded the Chevalier de l`Ordre National du 27 Juin Medal by the Président of Djibouti.
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