U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program Leadership
Captain Travis M. Polk, MD, FACS
Captain Travis Polk has served as the Director of the Combat Casualty Care Research Program since July 2020.
As Director of the Combat Casualty Care Research Program and Chair of the Joint Program Committee-6, CAPT Polk is responsible for the strategic planning and management of the DoD science and technology investment that supports the development of knowledge and material solutions for combat-related trauma on the current and future battlefield. In this role, he exercises primary planning, programming, budgeting and execution of the integrated Combat Casualty Care research portfolio for the Defense Health Program and US Army (approximately $150 million in FY21), including programs in Neurotrauma, Prolonged Care , Severe Burns, En Route Care, Battlefield Resuscitation of Combat Casualties, Medical Photonics, Medical Simulation, and Medical Assist Support Technologies.
Following completion of surgical internship, CAPT Polk served as Medical Officer for USS FORT MCHENRY (LSD-43) homeported in Sasebo, Japan completing several underway deployments with the Forward Deployed Naval Forces in the western Pacific from 2002-2004. He returned to Japan to serve as a staff general surgeon at the Naval Hospital Okinawa from 2008-2010 and also deployed to Afghanistan with a forward surgical team supporting Army Special Operations Forces. From 2012-2017, CAPT Polk served as the Surgical Director of the Healthcare Simulation and Bioskills Training Center and Program Director for Wounded Warrior Care at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. During this time, CAPT Polk also established a translational research experience for the general surgery residency program and a military-civilian trauma partnership with Eastern Virginia Medical School.
From 2017-2020, CAPT Polk directed the Navy Trauma Training Center at Los Angeles County + University of Southern California Medical Center where he trained US Navy surgical teams prior to deployment overseas. In 2014 and 2019, CAPT Polk deployed as Chief of Trauma at the NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan. In 2020, CAPT Polk became the first Navy medical officer to direct the DoD’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program based in Fort Detrick, Maryland.
CAPT Polk received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Norwich University in 1997 and his Doctor of Medicine from the Uniformed Services University in 2001. He completed his general surgery training at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth in 2008 and a fellowship in traumatology, surgical critical care and emergency surgery at the University of Pennsylvania in 2012. He 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 Military Region Chief for the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma and represents the Navy on the Defense Committee on Trauma. CAPT Polk’s personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (five awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (two awards), and Surface Warfare Medical Department Officer qualification device.
MAJ Elaine Por
Military Deputy Director
MAJ Elaine Por graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Texas State University and a Master of Science in Biology from Kangwon National University (Chuncheon, South Korea). She received her Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacology from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and direct commissioned into the Army Medical Services Corps in 2014. Upon her commission as a 71B/Research Biochemist, MAJ Por was assigned to the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research (USAISR) as the Deputy Director, Ocular Trauma Division from 2014-2017. From 2017-2019, MAJ Por was assigned as the Chief, Research Operations in the Department of Clinical Investigation at the Madigan Army Medical Center (MAMC). Following her assignment at MAMC, she was selected for the Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Long-Term Health Education and Training (LTHET) Clinical Pharmacology Fellowship through Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). At the conclusion of her fellowship in 2021, MAJ Por obtained board certification in Applied Pharmacology from the American Board of Clinical Pharmacology (ABCP). Currently, MAJ Por is assigned as the Military Deputy Director in the Combat Casualty Care Research Program (CCCRP) at Fort Detrick, MD. Her awards and decorations include the Army Surgeon General’s 9A Proficiency Designator, Meritorious Service Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Commendation Medal, and Army Achievement Medal.
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).