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.


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.


(63796 S3 B1) CHAMP, About: Directors

Executive Leadership

Melissa Givens, MD, MPH

Melissa Givens, MD

CHAMP Executive Director, Professor
Phone: (301) 295-9925

Melissa (Missy) Givens, MD, MPH, FACEP, Colonel, MC, U.S. Army (Retired) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Military and Emergency Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.  Dr. Givens has over 25 years experience with the Department of Defense and her roles spanned tactical to strategic operations involving inter-agency, academia, private industry, and international engagements. Dr. Givens is board certified in Emergency Medicine and Clinical Toxicology and has a Certificate of Added Qualification in Sports Medicine from the American Board of Emergency Medicine. 

Dr. Givens’ diverse career has afforded her the opportunity to be a thought leader, innovator, educator, and advocate known for collaboration across multiple domains.  She pioneered a program in Sub-Saharan Africa: Medical Capacity for African Nations, Growing Regional Operability (MEDCAN-GRO) which brought medical evacuation capability to the region through partnership with African nations, Department of Defense (DoD), and Department of State (DoS). Dr. Givens led the negotiations for a partnership between the United Arab Emirates, the Mayo Clinic, and U.S. DoD and DoS to form the first international accredited trauma center in the Middle East.  During the height of the COVID19 pandemic, Dr. Givens, in partnership with NewYork Presbyterian, established a field hospital in New York City, employing veterans from across the country in the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  She is a former small business owner who brought cutting edge health and wellness modalities to her community.

Dr. Givens’ previous work includes clinical, administrative, and academic leadership in both civilian and military organizations.  Her military experience includes assignments in both conventional and Special Operations Forces with multiple combat and peace-keeping deployments in Joint and Combined environments.  In her assignments with Special Operations Forces, she managed Human Performance Optimization programs for battalion to theater sized elements. She promoted cutting edge regenerative medicine techniques which improved return to duty across the force.  She is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine Royal College of Surgeons and Royal College of Physician of Ireland, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach, and a certified Medical Acupuncturist. Dr. Givens is the past President of the Government Services Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Missy is a strong community leader and has served as a personal fitness coach, high school football coach and team physician, cheer team physician, and volunteer at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.  She is a 3-time National Collegiate powerlifting champion and International Figure Competition champion who uses her experience in the weightlifting and bodybuilding community to promote safe supplement use and encourage scientific dialogue regarding ergogenics. 

A few of Dr. Givens awards include the Daughters of the American Revolution Margaret Cochrane Corbin Award, Joint Service Consultants’ Lifetime Achievement in Emergency Medicine, the U.S Army Surgeon General Physician Recognition Award and membership in the Order of Military Medical Merit. Her numerous military awards include the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star.

Dr. Givens is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, holds a Master of Science in Public Health from the University of Texas, and received her medical doctorate from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.  She is the proud mother of three daughters, Aja, Maya, and Jada.

Patricia Deuster, PhD, MPH

Patricia Deuster, PhD, MPH

Patricia Deuster, PhD, MPH
CHAMP Chief Science Officer
Professor, Dept. of Military and Emergency Medicine
Phone: (301) 295-3020

Patricia A. Deuster, PhD, MPH, is a Professor in the Department of Military and Emergency Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) in Bethesda, Maryland and Chief Science Officer for the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP), the Defense Center of Excellence for Human Performance Optimization Translation. She obtained an AB in Mathematics and Computer Science and MA in Education and Physical Education from the College of William and Mary, a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and Physiology from the University of Maryland, and a MPH with an emphasis in public health and epidemiology from USU.

Dr. Deuster chairs the Department of Defense (DoD) Dietary Supplement Subcommittee, is a member of the DoD Food and Nutrition Subcommittee, serves on the DoD Human Performance Optimization Committee, the VA/DoD Health Executive Committee Women’s Health Work Group, the DoD Nutrition Committee, and the DoD Population Health Working Group. She also leads the DoD Operational Supplement Safety (OPSS) Initiative. She is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, a Certified Nutrition Specialist, and has over 200 peer-reviewed papers and numerous book chapters and books relating to human performance with a focus on health, total force fitness, nutrition, dietary supplements, physical performance, and exertional-related health events. In addition she has developed multiple educational materials related to human performance and total force fitness: Visit the CHAMP Human Performance Resource Center (hprc-online.org) and Operation Supplement Safety (OPSS.org) websites.

She was the author of the first U.S. Navy SEAL Nutrition Guide sponsored by U.S. Special Operations Command and, because of its success, was commissioned to update the nutrition guide for the United States Special Operations Commands (USSOCOM). Dr. Deuster has conducted research in the area of sports and warrior performance for over 30 years. She has been a tennis professional, nationally ranked marathoner, qualifier for the First Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials, triathlete, skydiver with over 100 jumps, and world-wide scuba diver. Dr. Deuster is a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit and received the Special Operations Medical Researcher Award from the Special Operations Medical Association in 2014.

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) 295-2270

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.