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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Biography: Denis FitzGerald, M.D.,

Division Director, Tactical Programs
Office of Emergency Management
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services


Denis FitzGerald is a Board-certified Emergency Physician and EMS Medical Director who currently serves as Division Director, Tactical Programs at the US Department of Health and Human Services.  Working with a dedicated team of professionals, Dr. FitzGerald oversees a group of high yield programs focusing on support to the Department in important areas such as training, exercises, lessons learned, weapons of mass destruction expertise, and EMS applications to incident response.

From 2010-2013, Dr. FitzGerald served as Medical Director, Tactical Medicine Programs. In that role, he provided medical support to Federal law enforcement teams to include training, operations, outreach and medical oversight for law enforcement EMS programs. In furtherance of this work, he helped to establish the Center for Tactical Medicine.

Denis FitzGerald previously served from 2008-2010 as Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the
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National Disaster Medical System.  In that role, he helped to set medical standards and provide guidance for the delivery of clinical care to victims of large scale disasters, including Hurricanes Ike and Gustav.

From 2004-2008, Dr. FitzGerald served as Chief Medical Officer for the Protective Medicine Branch within the Federal Protective Service, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US Department of Homeland Security. In that capacity, he provided oversight and medical support for the EMS programs of several federal law enforcement agencies. As a certified Federal officer, he also maintained skills and training in law enforcement operations.

Prior to his time in Federal service, Dr. FitzGerald served in a full-time clinical capacity as Assistant Professor and Staff Physician at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center Emergency Department (ED). The ED is part of a Level 1 Trauma Center that cares for approximately 100,000 patients annually.  During his time there, Dr. FitzGerald maintained a focus in EMS and the public safety community, including serving as a local police officer and Medical Director for the regional Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team.

Denis FitzGerald has received numerous commendations during his career from Federal and local law enforcement agencies for contributions in support of their mission sets.  He has deployed nationally and internationally on over 300 missions in support of specialized teams to include many high profile incidents and events.  He has also conducted training for medical providers (including Emergency Medical Technicians, paramedics, physicians) who work with law enforcement teams on the Federal, state and local levels through the national Counter-Narcotics and Terrorism Operational Medical Support (CONTOMS) Program. He has provided numerous lectures and training sessions here and abroad for public safety personnel on the tenets of tactical medicine.

Dr. FitzGerald concurrently maintains clinical competency through active clinical practice in Emergency Medicine. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and his Medical Degree from Georgetown University Medical School. He is Board-certified in both Emergency Medicine and Emergency Medical Services (EMS), having completed residency in Emergency Medicine at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he was nominated Chief Resident in his final year. Dr. FitzGerald has also completed both state and Federal law enforcement academies.

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  • This page last reviewed: August 21, 2017