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About Us

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.

NHRC Leadership

Commanding Officer

Captain William M. Deniston

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Executive Officer

Captain Katharine Shobe

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Principal Director of Research

Dr. Kenneth C. Earhart

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NHRC History

Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) was initially established in June 1959 as the U.S. Navy Medical Neuropsychiatric Research Unit (NMNRU). Designated as the Navy’s primary research capability in the areas of psychiatry and neurology, NMNRU’s mission, defined by the Secretary of the Navy, was to conduct research in the area of neuropsychiatry as it applies to the naval service. Due to its close proximity to a variety of potential research populations including recruits and patients, sailors and Marines, and all Naval platform types, Naval Base Point Loma, San Diego, was an ideal location.

The first Officer in Charge assumed command on August 1, 1959. The Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) approved the first formal research work unit in February 1960 launching the start of NMPRU’s longitudinal studies. In the spring of 1960, Naval Hospital San Diego agreed to provide space for NMPRU’s proposed research efforts in psychophysiology and neurophysiology. Eventually nine other WWII-era buildings were obtained, along with spaces at the Naval Training Center, buildings on the “seaside” area of Naval Base Point Loma, spaces at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, and the more recent construction of human performance laboratory near the Navy’s Third Fleet headquarters.

In 1974, by authority of the Chief of Naval Operations, NMPRU was re-designated as the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) with the mission to study medical and psychological aspects of health and performance among naval service personnel. NHRC celebrated its 50th Anniversary in July 2009. Today, NHRC is housed in 24 historic military barracks buildings transformed into state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities overlooking the San Diego Bay. NHRC’s cutting-edge research and development is used to optimize the operational health and readiness of the nation’s armed forces.