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Lieutenant Colonel Michael N. Dretsch | Ph.D.

Director, US Army Medical Research Directorate-West
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
LTC Michael N. Dretsch

Lieutenant Colonel Dretsch earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences from the Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA, and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Hull, England, UK. He completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Cognitive Neuroscience/Addiction Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI.

Prior to attaining academic degrees, Lt. Col. Dretsch spent 4 years enlisted in the US Navy. While actively pursuing his degrees, he worked in social services, including as a counselor in a juvenile rehabilitation center and then a social worker for the State of Washington, and in psychiatric hospitals for the National Health System of England. In 2007, after his Post-Doctoral training, he direct commissioned in the Army as Research Psychologist, and served as in several Branch Chief positions at the US Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, Fort Rucker, AL, until 2012. From 2012 to 2014 he was the Chief of Neuroscience Applications for Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness, Pentagon, VA. From 2014 to 2015, he was the Chief of Research Operations at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD. From 2015 to 2018, he served as the Chief Cognitive Scientist and Deputy for the Human Dimension Division at the Army Capabilities Integration Center, Training and Doctrine Command Headquarters, Fort Eustis, VA. In June of 2018, Lt. Col. Dretsch was assigned as the Deputy Director of the US Army Medical Research Directorate-West, a research Detachment of the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research, and more recently Director as of May 2021.

Lt. Col. Dretsch deployed to Iraq in 2009 as a member of a special team for the Office of the Surgeon General to assess the psychometrics of neuropsychological instruments for screening mild traumatic brain injury. His myriad contributions to the Army include regular participation and consultation in numerous DoD and academic working groups, committees, and advisory panels as a subject matter expert in cognitive neuroscience, soldier performance, combat-related neurologic and psychologic injury (i.e., traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress). Lt. Col. Dretsch serves on multiple editorial boards and as an ad hoc reviewer for myriad scientific journals. His research has resulted in 4 Magna Cum Laude Merit Awards from 2015 to 2017 at varying conferences in the field of neuroimaging. He holds 4 Additional Skills Identifiers including Medical Research, Development, Test and Evaluation; Capabilities Developments; Master Resilience Trainer; and Acquisitions Officer.