The following announcement was emailed to the community on behalf of Dean Marilyn Flynn.

Dear colleagues and friends:

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Carl Castro will assume the position as Director of the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families in the School of Social Work (CIR), effective immediately. Professor Castro joined the faculty of the School of Social Work in 2013 and has made a significant contribution to the development of CIR locally, nationally, and internationally. He will replace Dr. Anthony Hassan, the inaugural director of CIR who is leaving the university to accept a new role as Executive Director of the Cohen Veterans Network, based in Stamford, Connecticut.

For the past two years, Dr. Castro has led CIR’s military behavioral health research initiatives. He has also contributed significantly to development of the veteran’s community collaborative in Los Angeles and served as editor of the Military Behavioral Health Journal. With his widespread recognition in the military community here and abroad, his creativity and vision, and his dedication to our nation’s veterans, Dr. Castro will offer both strength and continuity to CIR’s varied programs.

Dr. Castro joined the school after 33 years of service in the U.S. Army, retiring at the rank of Colonel. Throughout his distinguished military career, he held prominent leadership positions, including command of the U.S. Army Medical Research Unit-Europe, and as Chief of the Department of Military Psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, D.C. He was principal investigator of the $19 million Department of Defense project that produced the Battlemind Training System, the first psychoeducation intervention aimed at reducing post-traumatic effects of combat in soldiers returning home from deployment. Battlemind has since become the basis of other Army resilience programs. In his last military position as Director of the Military Operational Medicine Research Program at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in Fort Detrick, Maryland, Dr. Castro oversaw a wide range of research programs totaling more than $500 million in annual awards, including those for psychological health, resilience and injury prevention.

Currently, he chairs the NATO research group on military service members’ transitions to civilian life and serves on the National Academies’ Board on Army Science and Technology. Dr. Castro’s expertise and international perspective were also evident when he became the only American asked to join the advisory board for the King’s Centre for Military Health Research at King’s College London.

As we look forward to Dr. Castro’s leadership, I would like to thank Dr. Hassan for the instrumental role he had in building our school’s military social work program and the center.

A retired Air Force officer, Dr. Hassan joined the school in 2009. Through his leadership, the university’s profile grew locally and nationally among the veteran community. He was directly responsible for the exponential expansion of the Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative from a couple dozen organizations to now more than 400 public, private and government organizations that share best practices for veterans and military families, and he transformed its focus to efficient, data-driven approaches. He led the development of innovative technologies to help students and professional social workers better work with military populations. His relationships with the most senior levels of leadership in the U.S. Department of Defense, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles have helped recognize the center and the School of Social Work as national and international leaders in military behavioral health education, research and community capacity-building.

Though we will miss Dr. Hassan, we look forward to continuing to work together in the veteran sphere and actively engage with him on future projects that will help us in our mission of improving the lives of military veterans and their families.

Sincerely,

Marilyn Flynn, PhD
Dean and 2U Endowed Chair
in Educational Innovation and Social Work

PHOTO Caption: Dr. Carl Castro (left) and Dr. Anthony Hassan during the CIR-hosted ‘Closing the Gap: Military Research Centers Summit’ held earlier this year.
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