Robert G. Hale
Robert G. Hale
Official Army photograph of Colonel Robert G. Hale
|Born||November 28, 1956|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1977–2016|
Colonel Robert G. Hale, DDS (born 28 November 1956 in Baltimore, Maryland) is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and former Commander of the US Army Dental and Trauma Research Detachment. Hale lectures worldwide on craniomaxillofacial battle injuries and regenerative medicine. He is a researcher and public advocate for the advancement and benefits of regenerative medicine.
Hale completed his undergraduate studies at UCLA. He earned his doctoral degree in 1981 and postdoctoral certificate in oral and maxillofacial surgery in 1989 at Emory University. Hale has held a teaching appointment at the UCLA School of Dentistry since 1990 and is a professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.
Robert G. Hale was commissioned in the US Army in 1977 upon completing his undergraduate degree. He served tours in Korea and Hawaii during his original period of active duty and in Kuwait/Iraq and Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005 when he was recalled to active duty after 9/11. In 2005, Hale left his private practice in Los Angeles to serve at Brooke Army Medical Center as Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency Program Director and Chief of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
In 2016, Dr. Hale was featured in the book "Hurt: The Inspiring, Untold Story of Trauma Care" by Catherine Musemeche, MD. The book recounts the story of Dr. Hale operating on Todd Nelson while Hale was assigned to Brooke Army Medical Center. Todd Nelson was based in Kabul, Afghanistan as a senior logistics supervisor when he was severely injured in an explosion while on patrol. Hale was praised by Musemeche, who called him a "modern-day Gillies", referring to the "father of plastic surgery".
From 2009 to 2014, Hale served as Commander of the US Army Dental and Trauma Research Detachment and Director of Craniomaxillofacial Research at the US Army Institute of Surgical Research in San Antonio. While in the Army, Hale recognized the need for advanced regenerative repair for extreme facial injuries. Among other avenues of inquiry, he engaged in research on “spray-on skin, ” a concept developed by Dr. Fiona Wood, in 2011. That same year Dr. Hale’s work with injured soldiers was featured in the Pulitzer Prize–winning Huffington Post article by David Wood, “Beyond The Battlefield: New Hope, But A Long and Painful Road, For Veterans Pulled From Death’s Grasp.” In December 2013 Hale was the focus of a New York Times article, “Healing Soldiers’ Most Exposed Wounds.” Hale's research was also a front page feature article in September 2014 Discover Magazine Issue: "New Hope for Soldiers Disfigured in War". After 32 years of service Colonel Hale retired from the Army in 2016.
While Hale was Commander of the US Army Dental and Trauma Research Detachment, he played a large role in the development of Combat Gum. Combat Gum is an anti-cavity gum designed to help maintain dental health in high-risk soldiers who have limited access to water. The peppermint flavored, sugar-free gum contains a synthetic sequence of anti-microbial peptides which mimic defensins (the bacteria-killing molecules naturally found in saliva. Though this gum is not a substitute for brushing, when chewed for twenty minutes three times a day it can prevent pathogens from colonizing the mouth. Combat gum is predicted to save the military a hundred million dollars annually. Aside from battle, dental emergencies account for 10 per cent of all injuries that cause soldiers to be evacuated from the battlefield. In the future, the gum is expected to be mass produced and sold to civilians as a prescription or over the counter.
Hale's numerous military awards include the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with a 30-year hourglass device and the Expert Field Medical Badge. He is also recipient of the Army's Order of Military Medical Merit. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons awarded Colonel Hale with the "Humanitarian Award" in 2009 with a standing ovation from the members in attendance.
Hale first established a private practice in 1989. Hale returned to private practice in 2014 after his military retirement. He specializes in dental implant surgery and regularly treats complex cases.
Hale has written extensively on combat-related injuries and complications. His published works include:
- Hale RG, Timmis DP, Bays RA, 1991. A new mandibulotomy technique for the dentate patient. Plast Reconstr Surg. 87(2): 362-4.
- Kerner MM, Hale RG, and Silva, K. 2002. A Novel Three-Piece Anterior Mandibular Visor Osteotomy for Genioglossus Advancement in Surgery for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Operative Techniques in Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, 13(2): 175-177.
- Orloff G, Hale RG. 2007. Mandibular Osteotomies in Orthognathic Surgery. J Craniofac. Surg, 18(4): 931-938.
- Hospenthal DR, Murray CK, Andersen RC, Blice JP, et al., 2008. Guidelines for the prevention of infection after combat-related injuries. J Trauma. 2008 Mar; 64(3 Suppl): S211-20.
- Petersen K, Hayes DK, Blice JP, Hale RG. 2008. Prevention and management of infections associated with combat-related head and neck injuries. J Trauma. 2008 Mar; 64(3 Suppl): S265- 76.
- Hale RG, Tucker DI. 2008. Head and neck manifestations of tuberculosis. Oral Maxillofac Surg Clin North Am. 20(4): 635-42.
- Lew TA, Walker JA, Wenke JC, Blackbourne LH, Hale RG. 2010. Characterization of craniomaxillofacial battle injuries sustained by United States service members in the current conflicts of Iraq and Afghanistan. J Oral Maxillofac Surg: 68(1): 3-7.
- Hale RG, Lew T, Wenke JC. 2010. Craniomaxillofacial Battle Injuries: Injury Patterns, Conventional Treatment Limitations and Direction of Future Research. Singapore Dental Journal, 31(1): 1-8.
- Hale RG, Hayes DK, Orloff G, Peterson K, Powers DB, Mahadevan SV. Combat Casualty Care: Lessons Learned from OEF & OIF: Maxillofacial and Neck Trauma. 2010. [DVD]. Los Angeles, CA: Pelagique, LLC.
- Martin GJ, Dunne JR, Cho JM, Solomkin JS, et al., 2011. Prevention of Combat-Related Infections Guidelines Panel. 2011. Prevention of infections associated with combat-related thoracic and abdominal cavity injuries. J Trauma;71: S270-S281.
- D'Avignon LC, Chung KK, Saffle JR, Renz EM, Cancio LC, et al., 2011. Prevention of Combat-Related Infections Guidelines Panel. 2011 Prevention of infections associated with combat-related burn injuries. J. Trauma: 71: S282-9.
- Hospenthal DR, Murray CK, Andersen RC, et al., 2011. Executive summary: Guidelines for the prevention of infections associated with combat-related injuries: 2011 update: endorsed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Surgical Infection Society. 71(2 Suppl 2): S202- 9.
- Hospenthal DR, Murray CK, Andersen RC, et al., 2011. Guidelines for the prevention of infections associated with combat-related injuries: 2011 update: endorsed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Surgical Infection Society. J Trauma. 71(2 Suppl 2): S210- 34.
- Petersen K, Colyer MH, Hayes DK, Hale RG, Bell RB. 2011. Prevention of infections associated with combat-related eye, maxillofacial, and neck injuries. Prevention of Combat- Related Infections Guidelines Panel. J Trauma. 71(2 Suppl 2): S264-9.
- Dumas JE, BrownBaer PB, Prieto EM, Guda T, Hale RG, Wenke JC, Guelcher SA. 2012. Injectable reactive biocomposities for bone healing in critical-size rabbit calvarial defects. Biomed Mater. 7(2): 024112.
- Peacock ZS, Kademani D, Le AD, Lee JS, Hale RG, Cunningham LL Jr. 2012. Proceedings from the 2011 American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons research summit. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 70(6): 1271-9.
- Dreyfus, Claudia (2013-12-2). “Healing Soldiers’ Most Exposed Wounds”. New York Times.
- Wood, David (2011-10-17). “Beyond The Battlefield: New Hope, But A Long And Painful Road, For Veterans Pulled From Death's Grasp”. Huffington Post
- Calderone, Michael (2012-4-16). “Huffington Post Awarded Pulitzer Prize”. Huffington Post.
- Gross, Liza (2014-8-6). “New Hope for Soldiers Disfigured in War”. Discover Magazine.
- Galvan, Steven (2014-1-31). “DTRD developing anti-plaque chewing gum”. U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research.
- McCarthy, Dennis (2014-4-17). “Woodland Hills doctor joined Army at 47 to rebuild faces, lives”. Los Angeles Daily News.
- UTARI (2013-4-2). “Col Robert Hale at UTARI Biomedical Symposium”. YouTube video.
- Association of Army Dentistry (2009-10-14). Hale Receives the Humanitarian Award for Fellows and Members.
- Robert G. Hale D.D.S. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. Private Practice Website.
- Robert G. Hale D.D.S. Curriculum Vitae