Robert G. Hale, D.D.S., is Commander of the US Army Dental and Trauma Research Detachment, Consultant to the Surgeon General for dental research, Director of Craniomaxillofacial Research for the US Army Institute of Surgical Research, and Representative to the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine.
Colonel Hale received his doctorate from Emory University School of Dentistry in 1981 and completed his Doctoral Certificate in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in 1989. He regularly lectures on craniomaxilofacial injuries and regenerative medicine and has published extensively in professional journals. In 2010, COL Hale was awarded with the Order of Military Medical Merit, the Humanitarian Award-AAOMS, and the Meritorious Service Medal.
COL Hale was only fifteen when he decided that he wanted to work with the face. “The face is the most important body part,” he explains. “It supports all of your senses—eyesight, smell, taste, hearing touch—is your conduit for air and nutrients, and helps you communicate through expressions and speaking. It probably has the highest value to patients, and it responds well to treatment. It’s also a great area to be working on right now because of all of the research opportunities and advancements being made for healing facial wounds.”
After fifteen years of working in private practice, COL Hale became active duty in the Army in 2003. He treated badly injured patients in the war zones of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait. In 2004, he returned to America with a new zeal to research and develop better techniques for treating injured soldiers.
As a full-time army medical research specialist, COL Hale focuses primarily on three areas of medical research—biofilm formation, regenerative medicine, and face burns and scars. He uses a combination of his first two research areas in his pursuit of discovering the best treatments for when a face is burned or destroyed. “We’re looking at not just how to better close wounds and treat them, but also how to regenerate skin, muscle, and bone—to rebuild the face and restore both function and appearance.”