U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program Leadership
Commander Travis M. Polk | MD, FACS
A native of Phoenix, Arizona, CDR Travis Polk graduated from Norwich University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Scholarship program in 1997. He attended the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences on active duty and graduated with a Doctor of Medicine in 2001.
Following completion of a surgical internship at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth in 2002, he served as the Medical Officer for USS FORT MCHENRY (LSD-43) homeported in Sasebo, Japan from 2002-2004 completing several underway deployments with the Forward Deployed Naval Forces in the western Pacific.
CDR Polk completed General Surgery residency in 2008 at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia. Returning to Japan from 2008-2010, he served as a staff general surgeon at Naval Hospital Okinawa and deployed with the Commander- Joint Special Operation Task Force Forward Surgical Team in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan. Following this overseas tour, he completed fellowship training in traumatology, surgical critical care and emergency surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 2012. CDR Polk returned to Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and served as the Surgical Director of the Healthcare Simulation and Bioskills Training Center and Program Director for Wounded Warrior Care. During this time, CDR Polk also established a translational research experience for the general surgery residency program and a military-civilian trauma partnership with Eastern Virginia Medical School. In 2014 and 2019, CDR Polk deployed as Chief of Trauma at the NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan. From 2017-2020, he served as Director of the Navy Trauma Training Center at Los Angeles County + University of Southern California Medical Center where he trained US Navy surgical teams for deployment. In 2020, CDR Polk became the first Navy medical officer to direct the DoD's Combat Casualty Care Research Program based in Fort Detrick, Maryland.
CDR Polk is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University and is board certified in general surgery with an added qualification in surgical critical care. He is the Navy State Chair for the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, Chair of the Navy Trauma Clinical Community and represents the Navy on the Defense Committee on Surgical Combat Casualty Care. His academic and research interests include mentoring, surgical simulation and alternative devices for the treatment of tension pneumothorax. CDR Polk's personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (two awards), and Surface Warfare Medical Department Officer qualification device.
Dr. Therese West
Civilian Deputy Director
Dr. Therese West has more than 30 years of healthcare and clinical systems experience in the diverse fields of medicine, nursing, management, research and education. Prior to her current position Therese was a licensed independent provider in neurology, pediatrics, family medicine and emergency care. Dr. West also served on the faculty of both Seton Hall University and Monmouth University in New Jersey. She is nationally certified as a Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Dr. West has presented internationally on the incidence, diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI).