Ricardo Martinez, M.D.
Dr. Ricardo Martinez, 44, is a board-certified emergency physician who has dedicated his career to trauma care and automotive injury prevention, with an emphasis on children's issues and community health. He is a well-known expert on motor vehicle safety and appears frequently on national television and other forums as a commentator on safety and regulatory issues.
Dr. Martinez was sworn in August 29, 1994, to be the 10th Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Before joining the U.S. Department of Transportation, Dr. Martinez was associate director of the Center for Injury Control at the Emory University School of Public Health, and associate professor of the Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Surgery, at the Emory University School of Medicine. He was previously assistant professor of Surgery/Emergency Medicine, and associate director of Trauma Service at Stanford University Hospital, Stanford, California.
Dr. Martinez has been closely involved in automotive injury control programs for past 15 years, was chairman of the Trauma Care and Injury Control Committee of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and on the board of directors of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. He has also worked with the Centers for Disease Control and helped the State of California develop a plan for trauma systems and injury prevention.
Since 1988, Dr. Martinez has been a Super Bowl medical consultant to the National Football League, focusing on emergency services, spectator care, and injury prevention.
A strong focus of Dr. Martinez's leadership has been to make motor vehicle injuries a public health issue and create strong public-private partnerships to engage the issue nationwide.
Dr. Martinez set four specific goals for NHTSA: (1) Make injury prevention the priority; (2) modernize the agency; (3) provide science-based decisions; and (4) streamline the rulemaking process. The agency has since increased productivity, overhauled and reinvented programs and services, expanded its constituency, improved internal and external communications, and dramatically shortened the time for processing rulemakings. During his tenure, the agency has issued the two most significant safety rules in a decade and the two largest recalls in history. Under Dr. Martinez's leadership, NHTSA has encouraged international emphasis on crash injury research, established NHTSA as the focal point for motor vehicle injury prevention research, established the National Transportation Biomechanics Center and a Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network to bridge the gap between engineering and medicine, pioneered a concept called "Safe Communities" which works to introduce safety solutions at the community level, and placed a national emphasis on childrens' traffic safety. Of special note, he convened a Blue Ribbon Panel on child safety seats to recommend ways to increase proper use and move toward a uniform child safety seat attachment system that will be safer, simpler, and more secure.
A native of New Orleans, Dr. Martinez received his undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge and his M.D. from Louisiana State University School of Medicine. He was chief resident of Emergency Medicine at Charity Hospital, New Orleans.
Dr. Martinez resides in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife, Robin Rosser Martinez, and their daughter and son.