Dr. Richard Catherina is the acting Chief Medical Officer for the National Disaster Medical System, under the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. After graduating from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania he enlisted in the United States Navy, serving as an avionics technician on the F-14 TOMCAT before earning his commission through Aviation Officer Candidate School. Upon completion of flight training in both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft Dr. Catherina was designated a Naval Aviator, deploying to the Pacific and Southwest Asian theaters and logging over 1000 hours in the SH-60 Seahawk helicopter. He then transitioned to the Medical Corps, earning his medical doctorate from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, and subsequently practiced both ambulatory and hospitalist medicine while assigned to clinical, academic, public health, quality control, and investigatory positions over the remainder of his Navy career. In his final tour of duty Dr. Catherina served as Senior Medical Officer with the U.S. Marine Corps Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, the principal consequence management asset of the Department of Defense. Following his retirement from active duty, he worked as a hospitalist in the private sector before returning to federal service with NDMS. Dr. Catherina is board certified in Internal Medicine, and has served as the NDMS acting Chief Medical Officer since October 2017.
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