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Jacinto Garrido, Ph.D. ’17, DNP ’12

Jacinto Garrido

Accomplished Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing alumnus Jacinto “J” Garrido, Ph.D. ’17, DNP ’12, has a distinguished 26-year career as a retired Captain and advanced practice nurse in the United States Public Health Service (PHS).

Garrido worked with Immigration and Naturalization Services, which later became U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) throughout his entire PHS career. During his active-duty tenure, he held many roles in ICE Health Service Corps (IHSC), including staff nurse, nurse manager, health services administrator, national utilization review/infection control officer, regional manage care coordinator and founding chief of Special Operations.

“The field of nursing positions you within a very unique and critical place that allows you the privilege to care for individuals during their illness or decline,” said Garrido. “The patient’s vulnerability and your ability to be authentically present — while delivering caring interventions — produces a synergistic phenomenon that benefits both the patient and the nurse.”

Garrido is most known for his role in developing the Special Operations Medical Unit, which is known today as the IHSC Special Operations Unit (ISOU). As chief, he created a cadre of health care providers with specialized medical skillsets to support air, land and sea operations. During the process of developing the programs, Garrido trained as a flight nurse with the U.S. Air Force; Tactical Operations (OPS) with the ICE-Special Response Team; and Shipboard OPS with the U.S. Coast Guard. He traveled to 65 countries, bridging domestic and international partnerships, to establish national health care policies in these unique settings.

After retiring from active duty, Garrido pursued an interest in higher education. He helped universities develop advanced practice nursing programs to support clinical opportunities for nurse practitioner students. In addition, he worked as an adjunct faculty member at Florida Atlantic University where he taught leadership courses and supported the College of Nursing’s graduate clinical programs.

In 2021, Garrido returned to IHSC as a federal civil servant. In his current role as the director of the IHSC Academic Affairs Program, he oversees the development of academic initiatives with higher education institutions to facilitate multidisciplinary health care and student clinical rotations within the primary care setting of IHSC’s health care system. He aims to foster a safe learning environment and hands-on experience for students.

For all current nursing students, Garrido shared some parting advice: “Be authentic and know that the most important factor and magic is you! Make nursing your own!” he expressed. “Nursing is positioned everywhere within the health care system, and it is the perfect vehicle to enable you to take the profession to new horizons.”