Alexander Garza, MD, MPH
Assistant to the Dean for Strategic Initiatives, Associate Professor Epidemiology; Chair, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health
Research Interests: Health and Security; Public Health Preparedness; Emergency Medicine; Emergency Medical Services; International Health/Health Diplomacy; Quality Improvement and Measurement; Information/Data Visual display
Education History: Postgraduate Residency in Emergency Medicine, Truman Medical Center
SLU faculty since: 2013
Alexander Garza, MD, MPH serves as Assistant to the Dean for Strategic Initiatives, as well as Chair and Professor in Environmental & Occupational Health at the Saint Louis University College of Public Health and Social Justice.
Dr. Garza comes to SLU after service in the Federal Government. In August of 2009, Dr. Garza was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the US Senate as the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security where he served until April of 2013. Dr. Garza led the health and security efforts for DHS which included the health aspects of terrorism and natural disasters.
His office led DHS programs in CBRNE including the BioWatch program and the National Biosurviellance Integration Center. He has served as the DHS lead in response to the H1N1 pandemic, and the health lead for multiple disasters including the Fukishima Tsunami, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Haiti earthquake among others. In 2009, Dr. Garza was also appointed by President Obama to serve on the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. He participated and helped author reports to the President on numerous issues including the use of Synthetic Biology and the ethics of bioterrorism medical countermeasure development and testing on children.
Dr. Garza began his career in health as an EMT in 1986 and has worked in every level of providing care and leadership in emergency medicine. He has extensive experience working as a paramedic and flight medic and is a board certified emergency physician working at academic medical centers. Dr. Garza has worked as the Medical Director for Emergency Medical Services for the City of Kansas City Health Department and the State of New Mexico. He is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserves and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He has written and lectured extensively on issues involving EMS, health, security and preparedness and has counseled leadership at the highest levels of government. Dr. Garza is considered an expert in weapons of mass destruction, health threats to national security and strategic and operational excellence
Dr. Garza has received numerous awards for his military service and civilian career including the Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge as well as the Young Investigator Award by the American Heart Association for his research in out of hospital cardiac arrest. He and his wife Melissa enjoy spending time with their three boys doing camping, scouting, swimming and baseball.