Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada and Southern California
Cmdr. Paul Sargent, U.S. Navy
DVBIC Site Director
Navy Cmdr. Paul Sargent, M.D., is the site director for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury site at Camp Pendleton, California. Sargent completed his Bachelor of Science at the University of Utah in 1996, and attended medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, graduating in 2002. He completed his internship in psychiatry at Naval Medical Center San Diego, California (NMCSD) and was then selected for further training as a U.S. naval flight surgeon at the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute in Pensacola Florida. After completion of flight surgery training, he served as the medical officer for Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-267 at Camp Pendleton.
Sargent was the first naval officer to receive the Fleet Marine Force Qualification Pin within Marine Aircraft Group-39 (MAG-39), and was nominated for the III MAW Flight Surgeon of the year after publishing an article on back pain in rotary wing aviators. He then completed his residency in psychiatry and was selected from among his peers to be the chief resident for the program of 21 residents.
Sargent deployed to Iraq in 2009 where he served as staff psychiatrist for 2nd Medical Battalion, USMC, Camp Al Taqqadum. In that position, he was the sole psychiatrist for 19,000 service members in Al Anbar province, and created and implemented “Combat Sleep School,” a new cognitive behavioral insomnia treatment program for deployed personnel. Upon redeployment, he returned to NMCSD and was the founding program director for the Overcoming Adversity and Stress Injury Support program — a first-of-its-kind, DoD, residential treatment program for treatment resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After two years of developing and implementing the program, Sargent’s patients achieved significant improvements in anxiety levels, insomnia and depressive symptoms even after previous treatments had failed. Sargent was then selected by name as the first psychiatrist assigned within Naval Special Warfare. He served for three years at Naval Special Warfare Group ONE in Coronado, California where he oversaw the delivery mental care for all West Coast SEALs and support staff.
Sargent is currently assigned as the department head for the Concussion Care Clinic at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton where his management of an interdisciplinary team of health care professionals provides cutting edge care to a population of over 42,000 active-duty personnel. Sargent has published multiple articles in peer reviewed journals, most recently discussing complementary approaches in the treatment of PTSD. He is a credentialed acupuncture provider and incorporates a variety of non-medication techniques into his treatment plans. His ongoing research study examining the effects of blast exposure during training is a first of its kind in the Defense Department and will influence how concussions are prevented and treated in the future.
Sargent’s individual awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal with gold star and Navy Achievement Medal.
DVBIC Camp Pendleton was established in 1999 (originally housed with 1MEF). The clinic serves active duty service members from all military branches within our region, which includes Southern California, Arizona, Hawaii and Nevada.
DVBIC Camp Pendleton provides optimal care and treatment for active duty service members with TBI. Service members referred to DVBIC-Camp Pendleton receive specialized TBI consultation, including TBI screenings, and neuropsychological assessment. Auxiliary services if required include: coordination of other specialty services, duty status determination, and recommendations to the medical evaluation board and Naval Aerospace Medical Institute. Additionally, DVBIC Camp Pendleton supports post-deployment mTBI screening regionally. Together with 1 MEF, BUMED, MARSOC, and other national and local entities, a comprehensive post deployment screening procedure has been developed. Across local service provided by DVBIC Camp Pendleton, service members are offered educational resources, including a wide range of topics related to TBI and co-morbid conditions. They also have the opportunity to participate in TBI related research.
DVBIC Camp Pendleton evaluated 450 new patients and completed more than 200 post-deployment screenings in 2011. In recent years, a large number of referrals have been for service members returning from theater. In addition to evaluating combat-related TBI, we also recognize the importance of evaluating service members sustaining a TBI from other mechanisms such as, motor vehicle accidents, assaults, falls, sports-related injuries and military training injuries. Currently, our patient population is primarily active duty service members from the Navy and Marine Corps. Our team also provides clinical and educational resources to underserved regions. Our outreach services have extended to Alaska, Nevada, and Hawaii, and other areas of California including Twenty-nine Palms and Fort Irwin where we provided mass post-deployment screening and provider education.
Education, regionally, at Naval Medical Center San Diego and Camp Pendleton aims to increase the understanding of TBI for DoD, VA and civilian providers through comprehensive and engaging presentations. With the help of the regional education coordinator, DVBIC has equipped neuropsychologists, social workers, behavioral and mental health staff, service members, and their families with clinical tools, public awareness materials, and caregiver information to better handle the diagnosis and management of TBI. Through Yellow Ribbon Reintegration events, exhibit tables at national conferences, and collaboration with other treatment facilities, DVBIC continues to educate providers and service members by disseminating the most accurate and up to date information about traumatic brain injury.
Past efforts have included TBI training to Independent Duty Corpsmen, General Medical Officers, Surface Warfare Medical Officers (at Naval Medical Center San Diego), MACE training, military medical providers, mental health providers, and JAG (at Naval Medical Center San Diego). Dr. Boyd is the lead DVBIC education provider regionally, providing excellent training for the last nine years. Dr. Asmussen has been providing education on mTBI related topics for four years. Her talks include GMO introductions to mTBI, pre-deployment training, and one-on-one education post deployment.
DVBIC Camp Pendleton works in conjunction with DVBIC Naval Medical Center San Diego conducting clinical research focused on the behavioral, emotional and cognitive consequences of TBI. Nationally, we are involved in two multi-site longitudinal investigations collecting valuable data on the long-term consequences of TBI. Locally, our research team is focused on using the immense amount of information that our site has collected as part of our clinical services in the last decade. We are retrospectively examining clinical data that was collected through the treatment of military personnel during OEF/OIF. This data will be used for research to help address some critical questions about military TBI. Additionally, our site is investigating the influence that TBI and post-traumatic stress disorder has on irritability, anger, and aggressive behavior in our combat veterans.