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Goldenrath Award: Deborah White

July 01, 2022

Goldenrath Award: Deborah White

Established in memory of CAPT Walter L. Goldenrath, MSC, USN(Ret.), this award is presented for the most significant contribution in the field of aerospace physiology. It was created at the bequest of CAPT Goldenrath and is funded by the Walter and Sylvia Goldenrath Endowed Fund.

A smiling white woman in a dark blue shirt with light reddish blond hair is shown against a pale blue and white background meant to look like a partly cloudy sky.Dr. Deborah J. White, Ph.D., CAsP, M.B.A, M.A., received the 2022 Walter and Sylvia Goldenrath Award. She was honored for her service to aviation and undersea research and operational communities. Her contributions to physiology and human performance in hazardous environments have led to significant advan ces, including assessments of human error in naval aviation mishaps and the development of important considerations when addressing antigravitational counter measures for women. She coordinated COVID-19 screening procedures for the mission-critical workforce at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center and was instrumental in evaluating hypobaric oxygen rebreather systems and noise-reducing stethoscopes for critical military operations. Additionally, she was one of the founders of the Aerospace Medicine Student and Resident Organization, one of the Aerospace Medical Association’s (AsMA’s) constituents.
   Dr. White currently serves as a Member-at-Large on the AsMA Council and is the past President of the Aerospace Physiology Society (AsPS). She joined AsMA in 1988 and has been recognized as a Fellow. She joined AsPS in 1990, and oversaw the development of the Aerospace Physiology Board Certification Exam from 2011–2014, and then took over as Exam Treasurer from 2014–2021. She also served as a Member-at-Large on the AsPS Board of Governors from 2016–2019, and then rolled into President-Elect. She has also served as President of the Life Sciences and Biomedical Engineering Branch from 2009–2010.
   Dr. White recently retired as a Commander in the United States Navy, having served 24 years as a Physiologist and an Aerospace Experimental Psychologist. Her last duty assignment was with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport, where she served as a Human Systems Integration (HSI) Project Lead, responsible for providing HSI technical leadership, management oversight, policy guidance, and coordination to the Submarine Force’s Virtual Reality Submarine Training Program. She ensured that these areas were focused, relevant, and eminently capable of satisfying current and anticipated force needs. She also provided executive and supervisory leadership and authoritative scientific and technical advice to give future naval air forces the requisite knowledge and technology for critical warfighting capabilities.
   Dr. White received her undergraduate degree in Biology from California Polytechnic State University, then attended Wright State University for the initial start of her doctorate degree and completed her Ph.D. in Cardiovascular Physiology at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins. During her summer months she conducted research studies at U.S. Air Force Armstrong Laboratory, both at Brooks City-Base and Wright-Patterson AFB. Prior to entering the Navy, she worked as an Aeromedical Business Advisor to ML Lifeguard, a UK company that designed and developed safety and survival clothing for both aviation and submarine international services.
   In 1997, Dr. White was commissioned as a Research Physiologist in the Navy and served as a research scientist at the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory until 2000. She then transferred to the Aerospace Experimental Psycho -
logy community and went to the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute’s Aerospace and Flight Training Program. Upon graduation of the program, she went to the Naval Air Warfare Center as Head of the Human Performance Technology Branch until transferring to the Naval Safety Center in 2003. Prior to arriving at the Naval Safety Center, she attended the Naval Postgraduate School’s Naval Aviation Safety Officer Program. She then worked at the Naval Safety Center as Head, Human Factors Analysis Branch for 4 years. In Oct. 2007, she was requested by Fleet Forces Staff to take a special duty assignment and provide human factors analysis and aviation mishap expertise to the Safety Directorate (N4S). From 2009–2012 she was assigned as Deputy Director, Contract Support Office at the Naval Health Research Center, serving as the primary Contracting Officers’ Representative on over 10 major Bureau of Medicine research support contracts.
   After entering the Navy, Dr. White earned an M.B.A. in Human Resource Management and Team Building from the University of New Haven and an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies degree from the Naval War College. She is also board certified in Aerospace Physiology. Her awards include the NAVSEA Warfare Center Innovation Award, Michael G. Lilienthal Leadership Award, Fred A. Hitchcock Award, Sonny Carter Memorial Award, Medical Service Corps Director’s Award, Navy and Marine Corp Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (five awards), Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (two awards), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and Pistol Marksmanship (Sharpshooter).