We are proud to announce that Tillman Military Scholar Jon Andrews, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan with U.S. Army Special Forces, is the recipient of the prestigious WMS Hackett-Auerbach Award from the Wilderness Medical Society.
Jon is a third-year medical student focusing on anesthesiology at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, NC. The WMS award provides a $10,000 grant for his 3rd Year Project: The Effect of Riociguat on Gas Exchange, Exercise Performance and Pulmonary Artery Pressure during Acute Altitude Exposure.
Over the next year, Jon will work with Dr. Richard Moon in the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine & Environmental Physiology at Duke. The drug they are researching, Riociguat, was just approved by the FDA in October for treatment of two forms of pulmonary hypertension. Testing will be done in a hypobaric chamber with barometric pressures and inhaled oxygen adjusted to simulate an actual altitude of 15,000 feet.
“We conducted our first trial of the study this March, so it’s really exciting to finally be underway after so much initial preparation and paperwork,” Jon said. “Ultimately, we hope that this new drug will be something that can help improve exercise performance in military units that conduct operations at high altitude.”
In addition to his medical research, Jon actively supports the Durham community as an Albert Schweitzer Fellow; the fellowship helps medical students conceive and implement year-long service projects to address the root causes of health needs in underserved communities.
Jon’s fellowship project, in collaboration with Duke medical student Nicholas Tsipis, helps youth at Durham Nativity School address the safety and preparedness of their community during a disaster situation when basic medical supplies are scarce and emergency medical services aren’t readily accessible.
As a team, Jon and Nick are teaching students how to prepare for and respond to a disaster, conduct patient assessment, perform hands-only CPR, and apply simple wound dressings. They are also helping students write family disaster plans, signed by all members of each student’s household, as well as build disaster kits with as many items needed for preparedness for their homes.