Lieutenant General Ronald J. Place is the Director, Defense Health Agency (DHA), Defense Health Headquarters, Falls Church, Virginia. He leads a joint, integrated Combat Support Agency enabling the Army, Navy, and Air Force medical services to provide a medically ready force and ready medical force to Combatant Commands in both peacetime and wartime. In support of an integrated, affordable, and high quality military health service, the DHA directs the execution of ten joint shared services to include the TRICARE health plan, pharmacy, health information technology, research & acquisition, education & training, public health, medical logistics, facility management, budget resource management, and contracting. The DHA administers the TRICARE Health Plan providing worldwide medical, dental and pharmacy programs to more than 9.6 million uniformed service members, retirees and their families.
Place hails from South Dakota, graduating from the University of South Dakota with a Chemistry Degree, a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society and ROTC commission. A member of Alpha Omega Alpha honor medical society, he then graduated from Creighton University School of Medicine. Place completed his General Surgery internship and residency training at Madigan Army Medical Center (MAMC), Washington and fellowship training in Colon and Rectal Surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas.
Place’s staff surgical assignments include Martin Army Community Hospital, Fort Benning, Georgia and MAMC. His combat surgical experiences began in October 2001 when he deployed as a general surgeon with the 250th Forward Surgical Team (FST-Airborne) to Afghanistan. He subsequently deployed with the 67th FST during OIF I, Task Force Med Falcon IX to Kosovo, and “A Detach” 249th General Hospital (OPCON to the 173rd Support BN) for OEF VI.
Place’s medical leadership positions began with his assignment to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany as the Chief of Surgery in 2002 and then Deputy Commander for Outlying Clinics. He returned to MAMC as the Deputy Commander-Clinical Services, then gaining responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the Medical Center as the Principal Deputy Commander. He next served as Commander of USA MEDDAC Fort Knox/Ireland Army Community Hospital, Kentucky, then USA MEDDAC Fort Stewart/Winn Army Community Hospital, Georgia. His flag officer positions include Assistant Surgeon General (Force Projection) at the Office of The Surgeon General, transitioning to the MEDCOM Deputy Chief of Staff (Quality and Safety). After serving as the Commanding General of Regional Health Command-Atlantic, Place led the Military Health System NDAA 2017 Program Management Office. He most recently served as the Director of the National Capital Region Medical Directorate, the transitional Intermediate Management Organization, and the Interim Assistant Director for Health Care Administration, all within the Defense Health Agency. He currently serves as the Director, Defense Health Agency.
Place is a graduate of the AMEDD Officer Basic and Advance Courses, the Command and General Staff Officer Course, and the National War College. He is board certified in both General Surgery and Colorectal Surgery, the author of more than 40 peer reviewed articles and book chapters, and a Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. His awards include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, Navy Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Action Badge, Combat Medic Badge, Flight Surgeon’s Badge, The Surgeon General’s “A” Designator for clinical excellence, the Order of Military Medical Merit, the Army Staff Identification Badge, and others.