AUSTIN, Texas – Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health and associate vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Austin, has been appointed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to its Standing Committee on Medical and Public Health Research During Large-Scale Emergency Events. The Standing Committee’s charge is to facilitate high-level conversations, involving numerous stakeholders, about how best to plan and conduct public health disaster science research during an emergency or disaster event. The committee held its first official meeting in Washington, D.C. in April.

“With Zika on everyone’s mind, it is crucial that there be an active venue for relevant stakeholders – federal, state and local government, the private sector, academia, and others – to discuss how to prioritize scientific research needs in the context of disaster preparedness,” said Martinez. “Scientific research can no more be taken for granted than any other areas of infrastructure that would be sorely tested in an emergency, and I look forward to doing what I can to shape the expert consensus in this area.”

Along with his position at the Hogg Foundation, Martinez is a clinical professor in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin and an adjunct professor of psychiatry at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He holds a doctor’s degree in medicine from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University’s School of Public Health, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business administration with a concentration in finance from The University of Texas at Austin.

The Hogg Foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by supporting mental health services, policy analysis, research and public education. The foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Gov. James S. Hogg and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.