The Honorable S.Ward Casscells, MD is the John E. Tyson Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Public Health, and Vice President for External Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and Senior Scholar at the Texas Heart Institute. His team contributes original data (including the regular Zogby/Casscells surveys) and insights on healthcare reform, pandemic readiness, and health diplomacy.
From April 2007 through April 2009 he served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) where he was credited with turning around a struggling $45bn health and education system with 137,000 employees, 10 million patients in 900 clinics and hospitals in 100 countries. The system is now #1 in most surveys of patient satisfaction.
For this work, and for strengthening ties to HHS, CDC, FDA, NIH, AHRQ, AHIC, DHS, WHO, IOs and NGOs, Dr Casscells received in 2009 the DoD's highest civilian award, the Distinguished Public Service Medal, the Surgeon General's Medallion from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Army's Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service, the Distinguished Service Medal from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the Army's Order of Military Medical Merit, and the Department of Veterans Affairs Commendation.
Government Executive magazine said of him, "Many Defense leaders say they pay attention to the troops and don't. Casscells does...he is a leader who walks the walk...making rounds at military hospitals..(continuing his policy)would serve the troops well."
Dr Casscells graduated Yale College and Harvard Medical School (magna cum laude). He trained in medicine and cardiology at Beth Israel, Brigham and Women's, and Massachusetts General Hospitals, the Harvard School of Public Health, National Institutes of Health, and Scripps.
His publications have been in the areas of prevention of heart attack and stroke, information technology, medical ethics, influenza, disaster preparedness, health diplomacy, nanotechnology, and healthcare management. He also speaks publicly about living with cancer.
An inventor, and founder of several companies, including Volcano Corporation, he has served on numerous civic, corporate, and professional boards. He has been elected to a number of honorary societies.
His work in mobile telemedicine and disaster response earned him the General Maxwell Thurman Award, HHS' Best Public Health Practice Award, and Memorial Hermann Health System's Hero Award. His recent book, "When It Mattered Most", a tribute to medics killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, was termed by Newsweek's Evan Thomas, "a noble work".
A colonel in the Army Reserve, Dr Casscells served in Iraq in 2006, earning the Joint Commendation Medal and honorary membership in the Iraqi Medical Regiment. He and his wife and three children are Texans, living in exile in Washington, DC.