Andrew L. Martin, PsyD
Clinical Psychologist, Interventional Pain Management, Orthopedic & Spine Center;
Commander, U.S. Navy Medical Service Corps (Ret.)
In his 20 years as a Navy clinical psychologist, Dr. Andrew Martin treated numerous mental health conditions in all kinds of environments, from massive aircraft carriers to military bases in Iraq and Guam to the Pentagon.
Beyond caring for common issues such as depression, anxiety and substance use disorders, Dr. Martin became a subject matter expert in suicidology, directed an innovative concussion recovery center and developed resiliency strategies for Marine Corps recruits isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All of it made me a much better therapist and clinician,” he says. “It’s wonderful training, being asked to perform your job in diverse and unpredictable environments, and a lot of fun, too!”
Today, Dr. Martin’s mission is to help patients with chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder at Orthopedic & Spine Center (OSC). Based in OSC’s Newport News office, he teaches cognitive skills that help reduce the intensity of physical and emotional pain and restore function.
About 70 percent of chronic pain patients experience as much relief from meditation, mindfulness and modified thoughts as from opioid medications. He notes: “If they come to view pain as a challenge, rather than a threat, they can do something about it. Pain may begin in the body, but then the brain takes over. Depending on what activity is occurring in the brain, our experience of pain changes significantly.”
Fascinated by mental health since his high school days in Michigan, Dr. Martin joined the Navy in 2000 for its ample clinical training opportunities. By then, he had completed a business degree at Michigan State and a master’s in clinical psychology and a doctorate in psychology at Nova Southeastern University in Florida.
After an internship at Naval Medical Center San Diego, Dr. Martin headed the Psychology Department at Naval Hospital Cherry Point in North Carolina for two years and spent another two years as a ship psychologist aboard the USS John C. Stennis.
As the sole mental health provider serving a floating community of 5,000 residents, Dr. Martin typically treated 40 to 50 patients a week. He also trained sailors to administer first aid during medical emergencies, flew on jets and helicopters and counseled commanding officers on how to help their sailors cope with trauma and crises.
During subsequent assignments at Naval Hospital Bremerton in Washington State and Naval Hospital Guam, Dr. Martin served aboard the USS Lincoln aircraft carrier and deployed twice to Iraq as a staff psychologist for Marine Corps Combat Logistics units.
“It was a true honor to care for these exceptional young men and women,” he says. “Being in Iraq also made me appreciate the freedoms, safety and medical resources we have in America.”
From 2010 to 2013, Dr. Martin worked at the Marine Corps headquarters in Quantico as its Suicide Prevention Program Manager. Partnering with experts across all military branches, he trained clinicians at bases around the world on assessing and managing at-risk patients.
After three years at Naval Health Clinic New England, Dr. Martin spent his last four years of active duty at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. There, he mentored junior officer psychologists, helped Marine recruits stay mentally strong during mandated COVID-19 quarantines and directed the Intrepid Spirit Concussion Recovery Center, a multidisciplinary program for patients with mild traumatic brain injuries.
Dr. Martin joined OSC in 2020, grateful for his military experiences and excited about the future of his specialty. “It’s such a new science,” he relates. “We still have so much to discover about relieving pain and changing people’s lives.”