Dr. Paul Garst joined the newly-created Department of the Navy (DON) Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) in September 2009 as its founding Deputy Director. The new organization reports directly to the Secretary of the Navy and reflects the Secretary's emphasis on combating sexual assault throughout the Department. Dr. Garst has been instrumental in building the new office and refining its missions and strategic goals.
Just prior, Dr. Garst had served as Deputy Inspector General of the Marine Corps since his retirement from the Navy in June 2009. He served there as principal advisor to the Inspector General on oversight matters of importance to the United States Marine Corps, and he was also responsible for managing the command's specific programs, resources, and staff.
Dr. Garst's diverse Navy career spanned 1979-2009. During separate tours of duty with the Naval Inspector General, from 2006-2009 and 1999-2002, he served as Executive Assistant and also conducted special studies on the financial health of Sailors, the security of biological agents at Navy research labs, the care of wounded warriors, and Sailor’s perspectives on military healthcare. He travelled extensively on Inspector General site visits, including a special trip to Iraq. Between tours, Dr. Garst also worked temporarily with the Naval Inspector General in contributing to a study directed by the Secretary of Defense on detainee interrogation practices.
During sequential assignments to elements of the TRICARE Management Activity between 2002 and 2006, Dr. Garst helped oversee multi-billion dollar contracts for managed healthcare services across the Northeast. He also chaired a tri-service team to fix critical issues in a new generation of managed care contracts, and to recommend new standards for electronic referral systems. As Commanding Officer of Naval Hospital Cherry Point during 1997-1999, Dr. Garst managed a $16 million budget and a staff of 400 personnel. His efforts to re-engineer clinic access quadrupled patient enrollment and eliminated a two-year waiting list of Marine families. In special work with the Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy during 1996, Dr. Garst participated in structured interviews of senior leaders at numerous Navy and Marine Corps commands worldwide to identify organizational and infrastructure impediments to departmental efficiency. Earlier, as Executive Officer of Naval Medical Center Oakland during 1994-1995 and as Chief of Staff of the San Francisco Medical Command during 1993-1994, Dr. Garst coordinated a $76 million budget and the daily activities of 2,100 staff personnel. He oversaw all aspects of planning for facility downsizing and closure as mandated by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, and then he coordinated the regional implementation of those plans.
Dr. Garst earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois with majors in biological science and psychology. He later received a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Illinois (1978) and a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins University (2005).
During his practice of clinical medicine, Dr. Garst achieved board certifications in internal medicine, infectious disease, and critical care. He deployed to the Persian Gulf War aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy, visited seven West African nations in medical research, served overseas in the Philippines, and studied tropical medicine in Panama and Honduras.
Dr. Garst's service decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (four awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal (two awards).