Dr. Karin A. Orvis, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is the Director of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. In this capacity, Dr. Orvis is responsible for policy, oversight, and advocacy of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) suicide prevention programs. Her current portfolio spans the full spectrum of suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention efforts including policy, program development and evaluation, data surveillance, research, and outreach and engagement. In this position, and in her prior DoD roles, she strategically leads multidisciplinary, interservice/interagency teams in designing, implementing, and evaluating DoD-wide policies and programs in support of over 2M service members and over 2.5M military family members worldwide.
Dr. Orvis brings nearly 20 years of progressively broader experience spanning the federal government, academia, and private sector. Prior to her current assignment, Dr. Orvis served as the Acting Principal Director of Military Community and Family Policy, where she was responsible for the policy, oversight, and advocacy of military community quality-of-life programs for service members and their families. Dr. Orvis also previously served as the Director of the Transition to Veterans Program Office, where she was instrumental in redesigning the DoD Transition Assistance Program, which ensures that service members are ‘career ready’ and prepared to transition from active duty to civilian life.
Other prior DoD positions include the Director of Evaluation and Assessment for the Transition to Veterans Program Office and the Program Manager of the Basic Research program at the U.S. Army Research Institute. Dr. Orvis transitioned to the federal government after spending four years as a University Assistant Professor at Old Dominion University. Dr. Orvis has also worked with the private sector on programs related to employee training, leader development, staffing, and organizational effectiveness. Her work has been published in journals such as Leadership Quarterly, Military Psychology, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Business and Psychology, and the International Journal of Training and Development.
Dr. Orvis holds a Doctorate and a Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from George Mason University, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Michigan State University. She has received various awards throughout her career including the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service, Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence, Department of the Army Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, and American Society for Training and Development Dissertation Award.