James C West Jr.


Captain, Navy

Department of Primary Appointment:
School of Medicine
Vice Chair
Location: Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD
Research Interests:
Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders
Medical Education
Office Phone


M.D. 2001 University of Michigan Medical School
B.S.E. 1989 United States Naval Academy


Dr. West brings a wealth of operational experience to USUHS. He served as a submarine officer prior to entering medicine. As a psychiatrist, he served as Operational Stress Control and Readiness (OSCAR) psychiatrist with 1st Marine Division, including a tour in Fallujah, Iraq in 2006 providing embedded mental health support to Regimental Combat Team Five. He leverages his operational experience in leading the combat and operational stress control curriculum at USU, culminating in the annual medical field exercise, Operation Bushmaster.

His research interests include clinical trials of medications and psychotherapy for PTSD, assessment methods in psychiatry education, and understanding risk assessment and communication about personal firearms and military service members. Dr. West is a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and currently serves as assembly representative for the Society of Uniformed Services Psychiatrists.

Representative publications, projects, and/or deployments

Riluzole for PTSD: Trial of a Glutamatergic Modulator as Augmentation Pharmacotherapy

Enhancing Fear Extinction via Angiotensin Type 1 Receptor Inhibition: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Losartan for PTSD

Combat and Operational Stress Control Officer, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Feb 2010 - Sep 2010

Operational Stress Control and Readiness Psychiatrist, Regimental Combat Team 5, Camp Fallujah, Iraq, Aug 2006 - Jan 2007

Assistant Director/Acting Director of Behavioral Health, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Dec 2009 - Jan 2013

Psychiatry Clerkship Director, USUHS, Jan 2013 - Mar 2016


West, J. C., Morganstein, J. C., Meyer, E.G., & Wynn, G. H. (2017). Real Stress Reactions in Simulation: Vignettes from Extended Mass-Casualty Simulations. Academic Psychiatry. Online ahead of print.

West, J. C., Woodson, J. T., & Benedek, D. M. (2015). Large-Scale Simulation for Teaching Combat and Operational Stress Control: Operation Bushmaster. Academic Psychiatry, 39(4), 398-401.

West, J.C., Morganstein, J., & Ursano, R.J. (2017). Work-Associated Trauma. In Brower, K., Riba, M., (Eds.) Physican Mental Health and Well-Being: Research and Practice. New York: Springer.

West, J., Morganstein, J. (2016). Psychological Effects on Military Personnel Assigned to Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response Missions. In Christadoulou G. (ed.) Crises and Disasters: Psychosocial Consequences. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

West J., Schreiber M. D., Benedek, D., & Reissman D. B. (2016). Disaster Behavioral Health. In K. Koenig & C. Schultz (Eds.) Disaster Medicine (pp124-136). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Morganstein, J., West, J., Huff, A., Flynn, B., Fullerton, C., Benedek, D. M., & Ursano, R. J. (2016). Psychosocial Responses to Disaster and Exposures: Distress Reactions, Health Risk Behaviors, and Mental Disorders. In Shigemura J (Ed.) Mental Health and Social Issues Following a Nuclear Accident (pp. 99-117), Tokyo: Springer Japan.

West, J., Benedek, D., Hamaoka, D., & Ursano, R. (2015). Managing Psychological Consequences in Disaster Populations. In Tasman, A. (Ed.), Psychiatry (pp. 2521-2532). West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell.

West J. (2015) Personal Firearm Safety Counseling for Primary Care Providers: a Fact Sheet. http://www.cstsonline.org/resources/resource-master-list/firearm-safety.

West, J. (2015). Therapeutic Alliance in Treatment of Combat PTSD. In E. C. Ritchie (Ed.), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Related Diseases in Combat Veterans (pp. 27-34). New York: Springer.

Spangler, P.T., West, J.C., Andrews-Shigaki, B., Possemato, K., McKenzie, S., Paxton, M., Tu, T., Engle, K., & Benedek, D.M. (Nov 2015) Riluzole for PTSD: Efficacy of a Glutamatergic Modulator as Augmentation Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Poster session at the meeting of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, New Orleans, LA.