Prior to his work at Des Moines University, Dr. Polk was the Assistant Secretary (Acting) for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), assuming this post after serving as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Deputy Chief Medical Officer. Before coming to DHS, Dr. Polk was the Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Chief of Space Medicine for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Johnson Space Center and an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Preventive Medicine and Emergency Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch. He is the former State Emergency Medical Services Medical Director for the State of Ohio, and former Chief of Metro Life Flight in Cleveland, Ohio. He was previously a member of the State Trauma Committee for the State of Ohio. In addition, he is a member of the American Osteopathic Association’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, a Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians, and an Associate Fellow of the Aerospace Medicine Association.
Dr. Polk received his degree in Osteopathic Medicine from the A.T. Still University in Kirksville, Missouri. He completed his residency in emergency medicine with the Mt. Sinai hospitals and the Ohio University system and is board certified in emergency medicine. Dr. Polk holds a Master’s in Science in Space Studies with a concentration in human factors from the American Military University, and a Masters in Medical Management from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.
Dr. Polk is well published in the fields of emergency medicine, disaster medicine, space medicine, and medical management. He is a Clinical Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine and Affiliate Associate Professor and Senior Fellow in the School of Public Policy at the George Mason University and serves on several corporate boards. He has received numerous awards and commendations including citations from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, White House Medical Unit, Association of Air Medical Services, U.S. Air Force, and has received the NASA Center Director’s Commendation, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the National Security and International Affairs Medal and the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal.