David M Benedek


Department of Primary Appointment:
School of Medicine
Professor of Psychiatry & Neuroscience
Location: Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD
Research Interests:
Traumatic Stress Response: Neurobiology, Epidemioogy and Intervention
Forensic Psychiatry
Office Phone


B.A. Art History, University of Virginia, Charlottesville VA 1987
M.D. Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), Bethesda, MD 1991
Internship and Residency in Adult General Psychiatry, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington DC, 1995
Fellowship, Forensic Psychiatry, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington DC, 1998


Dr. Benedek is the Immediate Past Chair of, and a presently Professor of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, within the USU Dept. of Psychiatry, and an Associate Director at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Uniformed Services University. He is a past President of the Society of Uniformed Service Psychiatrists — the Military District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association, and a past Branch Representative to the APA Assembly. He is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. In addition to his operational experience in Bosnia and Croatia Dr. Benedek has deployed to Cuba, Iraq, and Kuwait in conjunction US Military Operations in those countries. Dr. Benedek served as Consultant to the U.S. Army Surgeon General for Forensic Psychiatry from 2004–2008.

Dr. Benedek received his B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1986 and his M.D. from the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine in 1991. After Internship and Residency in Psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, he was assigned as Division Psychiatrist, First Armor Division, Germany. From there, he deployed to the former Yugoslavia and delivered mental health support to U.S. and NATO Troops for Operation Joint Endeavor (1996). He returned to Walter Reed to complete forensic psychiatry fellowship training in 1998 and then served as the Assistant Chief of Inpatient Psychiatry, Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In 1999 he became Chief, Forensic Psychiatry Service, and Director, National Capital Consortium Military Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Program at Walter Reed, and he remained in those positions until joining the USUHS/CSTS faculty in 2004. Dr. Benedek’s awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service (3OLC) and Army Commendation (3OLC) Medals, the LTG Claire Chennault Award for Outstanding Military Psychiatry Faculty Member, and the American Psychiatric Association’s Nancy C.A. Roeske Award for Excellence in Medical Student Education. In 2002 he received the U.S. Army Surgeon General’s “A” Proficiency Designator, and received the Order of Military Medical Merit in 2009

Dr. Benedek has authored or co-authored over 200 scientific publications, and has presented on numerous aspects of military, disaster, and forensic psychiatry at regional, national, and international professional conferences. He has served on the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on Confidentiality, was a consultant to the Association’s Practice Guideline for the treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder work-group in the development of its 2004 practice guideline, and was also lead author on the 2009 guideline update. Dr. Benedek has led several ongoing clinical and epidemiological studies. He previously Directed the National Capital Area Integrated Clinical Study Site within the INTRuST Clinical Consortium for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury is the USUHS site lead investigator for the Soldier Health Outcomes Study-B (SHOS-B) arm of the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers-Longitudinal Study (ARMY STARRS-LS). He is also a member of the Military and Veterans Committee of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry. Prior to his return to USU in 2017, he Directed the Center for Forensic Behavioral Sciences at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Dr. Benedek stepped down as Department Chair in 2023 to focus on other interests including neuroscience research, optimizing the professional practice environment and forensic psychiatry.

Career Highlights: Positions, Projects, Deployements, Awards and Additional Publications

1998-1999 Assistant Chief, Inpatient Psychiatry Service, WRAMC, Washington DC

1999-2004 Chief, Forensic Psychiatry Service, WRAMC, Washington DC

2004-2008 Consultant to US Army Surgeon General for Forensic Psychiatry, Assistant Chair for Education, Dept. of Psychiatry, USUHS , Senior Scientist, CSTS

2008-2015 Proefessor (PSY) & Assoc. Director, CSTS, USUHS, Bethesda MD, Deputy Chair, Dept. of Psychiatry USUHS

2015-2017 Chief, Forensics and Director, Center for Forensic Behavioral Sciences, WRNMMC, Bethesda MD

2017-Professor & Chair, Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University School of Medicine, Bethesday

2004-The US Army Surgeon General’s “A” Proficiency Designator; American Psychiatric Association Roeske Award for Excellence in Medical Student Education

2004-Council for International Cooperation Lieutenant General Claire L. Chennault Award for Outstanding Psychiatry Faculty Member, National Capital Consortium

2008 -Meritorious Service Medal (3rd OLC), 2009- Order of Military Medical Merit

2016-Defense Superior Service Medal

Representative Bibliography

Benedek DM, Morganstein JC, Holloway HH, Ursano RJ, “Disaster Psychiatry: Disasters, Terrorism and War,” in, Sadock BJ, Sadock VA, Ruiz PR, eds., Kaplan & Sadock’s Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, 10th ed., Wolters-Kluwer, Phildadelphia, 2017 pp. 2564-2576.

Benedek DM and Wynn GH, “Acute Stress Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” in Ursano RJ, Fullerton CS, Weisaeth L and Raphael B, eds., Textbook of Disaster Psychiatry. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK, 2017, pp. 101-123.

Benedek DM and Wynn GH: (eds) “Complementary and Alternative Medicine for PTSD” (TEXTBOOK)

Benedek DM and Wynn GH: (eds), “Clinical Manual for Management of PTSD” Washington DC, American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc., 2010. (TEXTBOOK)

Zhang L, Benedek DM, Fullerton CS, Forsten RD, Naifeh JA, Li XX, Hu XZ, Li H, Jia M, Xing GQ, Benevides KN and Ursano, RJ: “PTSD risk is associated with BDNF Val66Met and BDNF overexpression,” Molecular Psychiatry , 2014 Jan;19(1):8-10.

Zhang L, Hu X-Z, Benedek DM, Fullerton CS, Forsten RD, Naifeh JA, Li X, Li H, Benevides KN, Smerin S, Le T, Choi K and Ursano RJ. The interaction between stressful life events and leukocyte telomere length is associated with PTSD. Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 5 November 2013; doi:10.1038/mp.2013.141.

Benedek DM and Grieger TA, “Legal Issues in Psychiatric Practice” in Tasman A, Kay J, Lieberman J, First MB, and Maj M, eds., Psychiatry, 4th Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK, (2015).

Malone RD and Benedek DM, “Personality Disorders in the Military Operational Environment,” in Oldham J., ed., Textbook of Personality Disorders, American Psychiatric Publishing, Arlington VA (2014): 475-485.

Lang AJ, Schnurr PP, Jain S, Raman R, Walser R, Bolton E, Chabot A, Benedek D: “Evaluating transdiagnostic treatment for distress and impairment in veterans: A multi-site randomized controlled trial of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” Contemporary Clinical Trials, 2012, 33(1), pp. 116 - 123

Nock MK, Dempsey CL, Aliaga PA, Brent DA, Heeringa SG, Kessler RC, Stein MB, Ursano RJ, Benedek D, “psychological Autopsy StudyComparing Suicide Decedents, Suicide Ideators, and Propensity Score Matched Controls: Results from the Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Service Members (Army STARRS), Psychological Medicine, 47(15), 2663-2774, November, 2017 (published online 18 May 2017);