Epidemiologist and ARHP member Lieutenant Colonel Robert Campbell, PhD, is currently serving as a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve on a biometric team that assists senior officials of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, USAID, the U.S. Embassy, and other military organizations in the development of plan for the recruitment of biometric enrollment technicians and the identification of a secure national database to support a revised Afghan National Identification card, the “New Tazkira.”
Before being called to serve his country, Dr. Campbell had been conducting research on systemic lupus erythematous (SLE) since 1994, when he was a MS student at Ohio State University in Columbus. He has dedicated his research to his sister, who suffered from discoid lupus, and a paternal aunt with SLE. In memory of his sister and aunt, he has dedicated his life to lupus research in the African-American and veteran populations. At the 2008 ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting, Dr. Campbell gave an oral presentation entitled, “The Economic Burden of SLE amongst Patients of the Carolina Lupus Study.” At the same meeting, his paper on SLE and mortality was recognized as one of the best methods papers of the year.
Dr. Campbell is currently deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, where he is assigned as an Air Force reservist and Joint Enabling Capabilities Command member attached to the recently established Joint Task Force 435. This deployment is the third in Dr. Campbell’s 22-year military career since graduating from The Citadel in 1987. It is also his second tour in Afghanistan, but by far the most memorable. “During the first week of this deployment, I was awakened by a bomb blast and an earthquake a few days later,” he says. Dr. Campbell was not injured and states that both incidents remind him of the imminent danger and his need to be constantly vigilant. Dr. Campbell will redeploy this summer and plans on completing two manuscripts from research performed during his previous postdoctoral fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina, and Ralph Johnson VA Medical Center, both in Charleston, while seeking permanent employment nationally as an epidemiologist.