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NICoE Deputy Director Receives Department of Defense's Highest Civilian Honor

Image of U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place  and Dr. Louis French at award ceremony. U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place (ret.), then director of the Defense Health Agency, presents Dr. Louis French, deputy director of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, with the Department of Defense’s Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service on Dec. 2.

The work of one of the Department of Defense’s foremost experts on the treatment of traumatic brain injury was recently honored with the department's highest award given to career DOD civilian employees.

Dr. Louis French, the deputy director of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence , was awarded the Distinguished Civilian Service Award by U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ron Place, then the director of the Defense Health Agency, during a ceremony on Dec. 2, 2022.

French oversees all clinical and research operations at the NICoE, which is the headquarters of the Defense Intrepid Network for TBI and Brain Health, also called the Defense Intrepid Network.

He has more than 20 years of experience in the TBI field and is considered to be one of the world’s top experts in military TBI.

Leadership from DHA, the National Capital Region, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and the NICoE, as well as colleagues, family, and friends attended the ceremony, which was held at the NICoE.

“Dr. French is a tremendous asset to the NICoE and the larger Defense Intrepid Network for TBI and Brain Health,” said U.S. Navy Capt. (Dr.) Carlos Williams, director of the NICoE. “His leadership, accomplishments, and advancements for the Military Health System and broader U.S. government in the area of TBI and psychological health have been instrumental in transforming the lives of countless service members and their families."

Dr. Louis French standing at podium Dr. Louis French (standing at podium), deputy director of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, thanks his family, friends, and colleagues for their support after he was awarded the Department of Defense’s Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service by U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place (ret.), then director of the Defense Health Agency, on Dec. 2.

The Distinguished Civilian Service Award is the highest recognition the DOD can give and is presented to a small number of civilian employees whose careers reflect exceptional devotion to duty and significant contributions of broad scope in policy, scientific, technical, or administrative fields that increase effectiveness and efficiency, according to DOD officials. The DOD had more than 770,000 civilian employees in 2022.

The citation accompanying the award states that, “In 2019, Dr. French was recognized as having the most publications in the world literature around military mild TBI for the decade. His leadership and contributions have directly increased the Military Health System’s capacity to care for and thus save lives for beneficiaries affected by TBI.” He has authored more than 100 publications.

Dr. French thanked those who attended the event and for their support and work in caring for service members and their families.

“It was a true honor being nominated and then awarded the Distinguished Civilian Service Award,” he said. “I’m fortunate to work in a place where extraordinary care is provided every day. I want my colleagues to share in this success for the NICoE and continue to do everything they can to faithfully serve those whose care we are entrusted with.”

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