Morsani College of Medicine Alumni Society

Dr. Eric Elster '95 named dean of United States military medical school 

July 06, 2021 01:07 PM By advance

Dr. Eric Elster was recently named dean of the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) in Bethesda, Maryland. In this role, he will oversee the undergraduate medical education of more than 680 uniformed medical students and more than 340 civilian and military graduate students each year. Previously, Dr. Elster was the chair and Norman M. Rich Professor of Surgery for the USU Department of Surgery and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. 


He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of South Florida in 1991 and 1995, respectively, as a recipient of the U.S. Navy’s Health Professions Scholarship Program. He was named the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine Alumni Society Distinguished Physician Alumnus in 2015. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he served as the ship’s surgeon aboard the USS Kitty Hawk while stationed in the Persian Gulf. Following deployment, Dr. Elster completed a solid organ transplantation fellowship at the National Institutes of Health and was later stationed at the Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he directed a translational research program focused on the development of improved diagnostics and therapies for serious traumatic injuries, transplantation and advanced operative imaging. He was last deployed as a surgeon and director of Surgical Services at the NATO Role 3 Military Medical Unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  


Dr. Elster is a member of several key organizations including a fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and a member of the ACS Association of Master Educators, Society of University Surgeons, American Society of Transplant Surgeons, the Southern Surgical Association, the Halsted Society and the American Surgical Association. He was also inducted as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in the United Kingdom. He co-chairs the strategic partnership between the Military and the ACS, the Military Health System Strategic Partnership American College of Surgeons, focused on advancing a shared ethos, and was the inaugural president of the ACS Excelsior Society. Dr. Elster has published more than 200 scientific manuscripts in leading journals such as Journal of the American Medical Association, Annals of Surgery, American Journal of Transplantation, and Science Translational Medicine, and has received numerous research grants across all aspects of surgery.