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Alumnus Who Prepares Nation for Disease and Disaster to Speak at Medical School

Alexander Garza to discuss his experiences as a physician and top national security medical adviser

Whether the threat is pandemic flu, natural disaster or nuclear attack, Alexander Garza, MD, is helping lead the nation's plans for responding quickly and effectively. But before he was assistant secretary for health affairs and chief medical officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Garza was an MU medical student.

Alexander Garza, MD, member of the MU School of Medicine Class of 1996, is now assistant secretary for health affairs and chief medical officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Garza will speak about his career journey during the public presentation "From Medical Student to Homeland Security" from 1 to 2 p.m. Friday, May 14, at the MU School of Medicine's Lester Bryant Auditorium, Room M105.

A native of Maryland Heights, Mo., Garza completed medical school at MU in 1996. He completed residency training in emergency medicine at Kansas City's Truman Medical Center in 1999 and went on to earn a master's degree in public health from Saint Louis University in 2003.

"My medical training at the University of Missouri definitely contributed to my understanding of medical systems and emergency response," Garza said. "Working as a paramedic for University Hospital gave me understanding of the challenges of emergency medical services outside of urban areas, but even more so, the passion and compassion that I saw in my teachers while I was a medical student taught me the best values of being a physician, public servant and leader."

President Barack Obama nominated Garza to serve as assistant secretary for health affairs and chief medical officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Health Affairs in July 2009. Garza was confirmed by a full Senate vote in August. He left his position as a staff physician for the Level I trauma center at Washington Hospital Center, the busiest emergency department in the nation's capital, to oversee more than 250 staff members at the DHS.

Garza has also served in the military as a battalion surgeon, as public health team chief during Operation Iraqi Freedom I, and as a special investigator and medical expert for Major General Raymond Odierno.
MU Health Magazine


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