Dr. James D. Polk

Chief Health and Medical Officer
National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Dr. JD Polk, DO, MS, MMM, CPE, FACOEP, FAsMA, is the agency Chief Health and Medical Officer of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) located at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. He began serving in this position in November of 2016.

Dr. Polk is the former Dean of Medicine for Des Moines University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. Prior to his work at Des Moines University, Dr. Polk was the Assistant Secretary (Acting) for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), assuming this post after serving as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Deputy Chief Medical Officer. Before coming to DHS, Dr. Polk was the Chief of Space Medicine for NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. He is the former State Emergency Medical Services Medical Director for the State of Ohio, and former Chief of Metro Life Flight in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Polk is a Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians, and a Fellow of the Aerospace Medicine Association.

Dr. Polk received his degree in Osteopathic Medicine from the A.T. Still University in Kirksville, Missouri. He completed his residency in emergency medicine with the Mt. Sinai hospitals via Ohio University and completed his training in aerospace medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch. He is board certified in both emergency medicine and aerospace medicine. Dr. Polk holds a Master in Science in Space Studies from the American Military University, a Master in Medical Management from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, and a Masters Certificate in Public Health from the University of New England.


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