NATICK, Mass. (June 1, 2016) -- Maj. Joseph Kardouni, director of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine's Total Army Injury and Health Outcomes Database team, received the Army Medical Specialist Corps New Horizon Research Award on May 6 at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.
The New Horizon Research Award recognizes researchers in the early stages of their careers who have been in the research field for less than five years.
"I do not necessarily talk about myself very much," Kardouni said with a laugh. "But it felt great to receive recognition from my peers and seniors who have been in the research field longer than I have."
Kardouni began his work as director of the TAIHOD in 2013. The TAIHOD is a research database that joins multiple types of personnel and health datasets from various Defense Department agencies in order to analyze the impact of injuries on missions. The database can evaluate relationships between the risk factors Soldiers are exposed to and the long term health and injury effects they experience.
"What we are trying to do with the TAIHOD is to quantify or at least understand the magnitude of injuries that pertain to Soldiers," Kardouni said. "We are defining how types of injuries may affect Soldiers in the long term, the disability rates and outcomes over time. We are trying to find out how these injuries impact readiness, find factors that may be modifiable and learn how to address these injuries before they become chronic."
He received the award for his overall accomplishments and contributions to research and clinical investigation. His research has included studies on chronic low back pain, shoulder injuries, the relationships between musculoskeletal injuries and concussions, mild traumatic brain injuries and mental illness, and stress fractures.
Kardouni was nominated for the award by Maj. Richard Westrick, the deputy chief of USARIEM's Military Performance Division. He highlighted that Kardouni was "emerging as a leader in medical research and a great representative for Army Medical Specialist Corps research efforts."
"Musculoskeletal injury is well recognized as one of the major threats to military readiness and Maj. Kardouni's research efforts are aimed at better understanding and reducing that threat," Westrick said. "Maj. Kardouni's research efforts will provide data that military commanders and healthcare providers can use when making informed decisions regarding the management of Soldiers with musculoskeletal pathology."
Kardouni, who has been in the Army for about 17 years, was a physical therapist before he began his research career. He worked for four years as a medical officer in 3rd Special Forces Group before he went back to school for long-term health education training from 2010 to 2013 for a doctorate in biomechanics.
"I got more into research when I started working with the guys in Special Forces," Kardouni said. "We were really focused on a lot of the lower extremity injuries. Soldiers go everywhere on their feet, so we pay a lot of attention to that. But I was noticing that a lot of the Soldiers had upper extremity issues, and I wanted to expand some of the research and tools we use to help address those injuries. That is why I went back to get my doctorate.
"I think the New Horizon Research Award shows that USARIEM is dedicated to research. We are a small installation, and a lot of the people in the Army may not know that we exist. However, a lot of the work we do shapes the way medicine is approached in the Army. It is great to get some recognition for the work that comes out of here."