COLUMBIA — MU alumnus Alexander Garza has been nominated by President Barack Obama to become assistant secretary for health affairs and chief medical officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to a news release from the MU School of Medicine.
Garza, a 1996 graduate of the School of Medicine, is awaiting confirmation by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. The nomination must be approved by the committee before it can go before the Senate for a vote.
Committee Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., said the duties of the chief medical officer are essential to the mission of the Department of Homeland Security.
"Dr. Garza, if he is confirmed, will play a vital role in our nation's ongoing response to the H1N1 pandemic," Lieberman said in a statement.
Garza currently serves as a staff physician for the Level I trauma center at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.
Previously, Garza served as director of military programs at the ER One Institute at Washington Hospital Center, associate medical director of emergency medical services for the state of New Mexico and director of emergency medical services for the Kansas City Health Department. Garza has also provided health services for the U.S. military in Senegal and Iraq.
Garza received his bachelor's degree at the University of Missouri in Kansas City and his master's degree in public health from St. Louis University's School of Public Health.