CHAMP’s Mission

Optimize Warfighter mission performance and family readiness through leadership, community engagement, education, and conducting and translating human performance research.

CHAMP’s Vision

Be the premier Department of Defense translational resource in the complete range of disciplines associated with military-unique Human Performance Optimization (HPO) and Total Force Fitness (TFF) for maximizing Warfighter readiness and performance and for optimizing the resilience of the global military family. As it continues to evolve, CHAMP will become an asset for the entire U.S. national security community. 


CHAMP is the DoD Center of Excellence for integration, translation, & education of all topics related to HPO & Total Force Fitness (TFF) and is a collaborative effort among operational, medical, and research communities and policy makers. We translate research for: military operational applications, practical warrior clinical concerns, and DoD policy development — and are ready to answer all HPO questions. Those questions without clear evidence-based or militarily applicable answers help us identify HPO gaps that must be prioritized and scientifically resolved.

2023 Annual Report


CHAMP 2023 Annual Report



Human Performance Optimization (HPO) has drawn considerable attention within the Department of Defense (DoD). In January 2004, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum stating that the Military Health System (MHS) must develop programs to optimize human performance. This statement generated significant interest, and was again emphasized in the DoD Quadrennial Review Report 2006, with specific dictates for the MHS to address gaps in the area of human performance enhancement, in particular as directly related to mission requirements. In May 2005, the director of the Office of Net Assessment (ONA) distributed an innovative report entitled "Human Performance Optimization and Military Missions." This report was based upon interviews with various operational units, as well as discussions among various medical and research persons within the Department of Defense who were working in the area of human performance.

The ONA report resulted in Health Affairs requesting Uniformed Services University to host a conference to initiate the development of a strategic plan for HPO in DoD. The conference was held 7-9 June 2006. The conference concluded with specific recommendations identifying urgent requirements to organize, coordinate, and integrate the HPO process in the DoD. This report was presented to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Health Protection and Readiness was asked to address the principal questions of where does HPO in the DoD need to go, who will do it, and how will it be done. On 14 and 15 November another ONA-sponsored meeting was held to discuss HPO in DoD. Multiple DoD agencies and services were assembled and the group consensus validated the USU-generated HPO report. USU faculty members Francis G. O'Connor, MD, and Patricia Deuster, PhD, MPH, have been actively involved in the Health Affairs planning process that is presently charting a future course for HPO in the military. Drs. O'Connor and Deuster have forwarded a detailed proposal to nominate USU as home to a future HPO "clearinghouse", envisioned as a state-of-the-art translational research center. Together with the DoD movement in the area of HPO, this report outlines a proposal to organize and structure the University's effort in this arena, and to move forward in our continuing effort to "Care for those in Harm's Way".

Concept of Operation

CHAMP is a premier program for investigating issues relating to optimal operational performance. It is helping to identify and integrate a research agenda for addressing barriers to optimal performance, test approaches for safely enhancing performance of mission essential functions in operational settings, and develop an education and training agenda for transferring this knowledge to medical and operational communities. CHAMP, which involves both the School of Medicine and Graduate School of Nursing at USU, conducts investigational research at multiple training sites and medical treatment facilities, and serves as a clearinghouse and e-consult service for human performance information within the Department of Defense. The overall objectives of CHAMP are to support other Department of Defense activities on human performance, optimize the health and fitness of our forces, and provide new information to augment Force Health Enhancement goals and policies.

Overall Goals

  • Lead in developing research, clinical services, and educational agendas for HPO in DoD.
  • Conduct, translate, and transfer research results into tools and educational materials for medical and operational communities, as well as commanders and warriors.
  • Develop a central clearinghouse for collecting and disseminating data on human performance in military settings around the world.
  • Provide recommendations to DoD for HPO policy.

Organization and Function

CHAMP Organizational Structure

A data management and coordination center will be developed. Each participating department provides selected resources and resources are shared. An External Review Board will be appointed to review the various research projects and objectives and a Military Advisory Board will oversee the education agenda and scope of CHAMP.CHAMP is a joint program at the USU. All HPO products emerge from a coordinated effort as a result of integration of University, NCA and DoD medical assets. CHAMP's organizational center resides within the Department of Military and Emergency Medicine and is led by a medical and scientific director. Faculty among all departments in both the SOM and GSN are invited to participate in regular meetings where issues related to ongoing and prospective efforts (educational, research, and consultative) are discussed. Regular communication is provided and information is disseminated to all consortium members. A consortium website describes membership, structure, goals, objectives, strategies and ongoing activities.


Executive Leadership

Jeff Leggit, MD, CAQSM

Jeff Leggit, MD, CAQSM

CHAMP Interim Executive Director
Professor, Dept. of Family Medicine
Phone: (301) 295-9460

Dr. Leggit is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Maryland. He retired after 25 years of military service in the Army Medical Corps as a Colonel. He is a Board-certified Family Physician with a certificate of added qualification in Primary Care Sports Medicine as well as a medical acupuncturist. Dr. Leggit also served as the CHAMP Medical Director from 2013–2015. He currently serves in a variety of roles in the Family Medicine Department and the University. He is the Vice Chair for the department and the Director of Healthcare Operations for the University Family Health Center. Dr. Leggit also is the clinical module director for the Musculoskeletal Curriculum for the School of Medicine. In addition, he is one of the key faculty for the National Capital Consortium’s Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship. Prior to arriving at USUHS, Dr. Leggit was the Director of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) at Fort Detrick, Maryland. There he was responsible for all aspects of planning, execution, and management of the CDMRP mission, which included research in 17 programs, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, neurofibromatosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, autism, and other peer-reviewed research programs with an annual budget of $500 million. Prior to CDMRP, he served as Deputy Commander for Clinical Services for General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and Commander of Barquist Army Health Clinic at Fort Detrick, Maryland. In 2003, Dr. Leggit deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Battalion Surgeon with 1-67 Armor, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, earning a Bronze Star.

Francis G. O'Connor, MD, COL, MC, USA (ret.)

Francis G. O'Connor, COL, MC, USA (ret.)

CHAMP Chief Medical Officer
Professor, Dept. of Military and Emergency Medicine
Phone: (301) 295-9661

Francis G. O’Connor, MD, MPH has been a leader in sports medicine education and research for the military for more than 25 years. Dr. O’Connor has authored over 90 peer reviewed articles in scientific journals and numerous book chapters/technical reports/health promotion resources for the military. In addition, Dr. O’Connor is the editor of eight texts on sports medicine including, the Textbook of Running Medicine, and Sports Medicine for the Primary care Physician 3rd Edition and ACSM’s Sports Medicine: A Comprehensive Review. He has been on the board of several leading organizations in sports medicine including the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and the American Medical Athletic Association and is a past President of the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine. A Colonel in the United States Army, Dr. O’Connor is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and prior to his assignment at Uniformed Services University in the Department of Military Medicine, served one year as a Command Surgeon with Special Operations in the Middle East. Dr. O’Connor is recipient of several awards for excellence in sports medicine research and education including the Korey Stringer Institute’s Korey Stringer Institute Lifesaving Research Award, presented by the NFL and Gatorade in 2012, and he was recently selected for an ACSM 2016 Citation Award.

Maile Richert, PhD, CAsP, LCDR, MSC, USN


Interim CHAMP Deputy Executive Director
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Military and Emergency Medicine
Phone: (301) 295-1244

Lieutenant Commander Maile Richert is a board-certified aerospace physiologist and warfare-qualified as a Fleet Marine Force Officer. A native of Aurora, Colorado, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University and a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences with emphasis on Physiology and Biomedical Engineering from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. LCDR Richert’s research interests are integrative human physiology in challenging environments and human performance in military operational settings.

LCDR Richert joined the Navy in 2011, and was "winged" as a Naval Aerospace and Operational Physiologist in 2012. She served in billets at the Aviation Survival Training Center Cherry Point, Marine Aircraft Group Two Six (MAG-26), and the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory. Prior to joining the Navy, LCDR Richert provided engineering support at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, performed research at the Mayo Clinic, and worked as a clinical research manager for Medtronic, Inc.

LCDR Richert’s awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Antarctic Service Medal.