Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs
Department of Defense
Dr. Karen Guice
Department of Defense
United States

Karen S. Guice, M.D., M.P.P., is the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. Dr. Guice assists in the development of strategies and priorities to achieve the health mission of the Military Health System, and participates fully in formulating, developing, overseeing and advocating the policies of the Secretary of Defense.

Dr. Guice also acts as a liaison for other offices within OSD, the Military Departments, Congress, and other Executive Branch agencies to develop, coordinate and integrate health care policies with departmental priorities and initiatives. Additionally, Dr. Guice oversees Congressional and legislative activities for the OASD(HA), as well as guides the office’s public affairs and communications programs. The Office of Health Affairs is responsible for providing a cost effective, quality health benefit to 9.6 million active duty uniformed Service Members, retirees, survivors and their families. The MHS has a $50 billion annual budget and consists of a worldwide network of 59 military hospitals, 360 health clinics, private-sector health business partners, and the Uniformed Services University.

In addition, Dr. Guice serves as acting Military Health System Chief Information Officer. In this position, she supports the assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) and DoD medical leaders on all matters related to information management and information technology.

Previously, Dr. Guice served as the Executive Director of the Federal Recovery Coordination Program, a joint program of the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Dr. Guice graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and completed her general surgery training at the University of Washington. She has been a member of the surgical faculties at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, the University of Michigan, Duke University, and the Medical College of Wisconsin.  She was promoted to Professor of Surgery during her tenure at Duke University.

Dr. Guice received a master’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University and was selected as a 1997-1998 Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow. Dr. Guice served as a staff member of the Senate Committee on Labor from 1998-1999, and as the Director of Fellowship Services at the American College of Surgeons (1999-2001). She was the Deputy Director for the President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors (Senator Bob Dole and Secretary Donna Shalala, co-chairs, 2007).

Dr. Guice has been a funded investigator for over 10 years, receiving grants from the NIH and the Emergency Medical Services for Children Program. Her basic science research included the scientific investigation of pancreatitis related respiratory failure and her health services research focused on the development of a national trauma registry for children and outcome evaluation of children’s trauma-related care. She has served on NIH Study Sections and EMSC grant review panels. She authored or coauthored over 60 peer reviewed publications and nine book chapters.

Dr. Guice is a member of several professional societies and was elected President of the Association of Academic Surgery in 1993. She received the Association of Women Surgeons Distinguished Member Award in 1999 and the W.W. Coon Surgical Residents Award for Teaching Excellence at the University of Michigan in 1988. In 1993, she received the Outstanding Alumna Award from the College of Arts and Sciences at New Mexico State University. She received an award for Outstanding Achievement from the office of the Secretary of Defense in 2007 for her work on the President’s Commission, and received a Commendation from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2009.