Eric A. Elster, M.D.

Eric A. Elster, M.D.

Eric A. Elster, MD, FACS

Name: Eric A. Elster, M.D., F.A.C.S., Capt., MC, USN

Department of Primary Appointment: Surgery
Position: Department Chair
Title: Professor and Chairman

Email: (link sends e-mail)
Office Phone: (301) 295-3155

Department Website





USU - Walter Reed Department of Surgery


Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Medical Education

M.D., University of South Florida College of Medicine
Residency, National Naval Medicine Center
Fellowship, National Institute of Health

Board Certification

Fellow, American College of Surgeons
Diplomate, American Board of Surgery
Fellow, Southeastern Surgical Congress
State of Virginia
Southern Surgical Association
American Surgical Association

Insurances Accepted




University of South Florida (Honors Program); BA in Interdisciplinary Sciences
University of South Florida College of Medicine; MD in Medicine


1995 - 1996: Internship General Surgery, National Naval Medicine Center
1997 - 2001: Resident in General Surgery, National Naval Medicine Center
2001 - 2002: Chief Resident in General Surgery, National Naval Medicine Center
2003 - 2005: Fellowship in Organ Transplant Service, National Institute of Health

Director Surgical Service/Chief of Surgery, Role 3 MMU Kandahr Afghanistan, 2010 - 2011
Ship's Surgeon, USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), Japan, 2002 - 2003
Surgeon, 31st MEU (SOC) Okinawa, Japan, 1996 - 1997

Dr. Elster received his undergraduate and medical school degrees from the University of South Florida in Tampa as a recipient of the U.S. Navy’s Health Professionals Scholarship Program. Upon graduation, Dr. Elster completed a general surgery residency at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Dr. Elster served as ship’s surgeon aboard the USS Kitty Hawk while stationed in the Persian Gulf. Upon returning, Dr. Elster completed a solid organ transplantation fellowship at the National Institutes of Health and then was stationed at the Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, MD, 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. Capt. Elster now serves as the 3rd Chairman of the Norman M. Rich Department of Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences as well as a Professor of Surgery and Director of the Surgical Critical Care Initiative, a joint military and civilian program developing clinical decision support tools for critically ill patients. Dr. Elster 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 numerous organizations including a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Society of University Surgeons, American Society of Transplant Surgeons, the Southern Surgical Association and the American Surgical Association. Dr. Elster and has published over 100 scientific manuscripts and received numerous research grants across all aspects of surgery.


Dr. Elster directs a translational research program focused on the development of improved diagnostics and therapies for serious traumatic injuries, transplantation and advanced operative imaging, the cornerstone of which is the Surgical Critical Care Initiative (SC2i). The SC2i, a Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Center, was established in October 2013 to develop, translate, and validate biology-driven care for the critically ill. In collaboration with both Federal (USUHS, WRNMMC, NMRC) and non-Federal (Duke, Emory) institutions, SC2i drives data acquisition and analysis for improved decision-making in both military and civilian health systems.


1. Welling DR, Rich NM, Elster E. One Example of a Model Humanitarian Mission. World J Surg. 2015 Mar 31. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25821950.

2. Polfer EM, Hope DN, Elster EA, Qureshi AT, Davis TA, Golden D, Potter BK, Forsberg JA. The development of a rat model to investigate the formation of blast-related post-traumatic heterotopic ossification. Bone Joint J. 2015 Apr;97-B(4):572-6. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.97B4.34866. PubMed PMID: 25820900.

3. Harris M, Cilwa K, Elster EA, Potter BK, Forsberg JA, Crane NJ. Pilot study for detection of early changes in tissue associated with heterotopic ossification: moving toward clinical use of Raman spectroscopy. Connect Tissue Res. 2015 Apr;56(2):144-52. doi: 10.3109/03008207.2015.1013190. Epub 2015 Mar 4. PubMed PMID: 25738521.

4. Bograd BA, Radowsky JS, Vicente DA, Lee EH, Davis TA, Elster EA. An Evolving Uncontrolled Hemorrhage Model using Cynomolgus Macaques. Shock. 2015 Jan 6. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25565642.

5. Valparaiso AP, Vicente DA, Bograd BA, Elster EA, Davis TA. Modeling acute traumatic injury. J Surg Res. 2015 Mar;194(1):220-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2014.10.025. Epub 2014 Oct 22. Review. PubMed PMID: 25481528.

6. Davis TA, Anam K, Lazdun Y, Gimble JM, Elster EA. Adipose-Derived Stromal Cells Promote Allograft Tolerance Induction. Stem Cells Transl Med. 2014 Nov 19. pii: sctm.2014-0131. PubMed PMID: 25411475.

7. J. A. Forsberg, T. A. Davis, E. A. Elster, J. M. Gimble, Burned to the Bone. Sci. Transl. Med. 6, 255fs37 (2014).

8. Remick KN, Wong EG, Chuot Chep C, Morton RT, Monsour A, Fisher D, Oh JS, Wilson R, Malone DL, Branas C, Elster E, Gross KR, Kushner AL. Development of a novel Global Trauma System Evaluation Tool and initial results of implementation in the Republic of South Sudan. Injury. 2014 Aug 10. pii: S0020-1383(14)00364-7. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2014.08.004. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25192865.

9. Rasmussen TE, Elster EA, Rauch TM, Brix KA. A perspective on the 2014 Institute of Medicine report on the long-term effects of blast exposures. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2014 Sep;77(3 Suppl 2):S237-9. doi:10.1097/TA.0000000000000383. PubMed PMID: 25159360.

10. Vertrees A, Laferriere N, Elster E, Shriver CD, Rich NM. Female military medical school graduates entering surgical internships: are we keeping up with national trends? Am J Surg. 2014 Oct;208(4):550-5. doi:10.1016/j.amjsurg.2014.05.009. Epub 2014 Jul 27. PubMed PMID: 25129429.

View Dr. Elster's other publications on PubMed

Contact Information

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Department of Surgery
4301 Jones Bridge Road
Bethesda, Maryland 20814
Phone: (301) 295-3157
Fax: (301) 295-3627