2018 Tillman Scholar

Carl LoFaro

University of Colorado

“Invisible wounds take too much from too many veterans. I’m working to cut 20 veteran suicides a day to zero.”

Like many young Americans, Carl joined the Army after college in 2005, seeking the sense of purpose and camaraderie omnipresent in military service. He enlisted as a mental health specialist and provided counseling to service members stateside and in Iraq. His most rewarding experience came during his deployment when, alongside a battle-hardened Sergeant Major, he made significant progress in changing an infantry battalion’s views on the acceptability of mental health care.

After four years in the Army, Carl continued to provide mental health care to military and veteran communities in several roles while obtaining a Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland. He most recently led the first community mental health program for veterans and military families in Colorado.

Regardless of the setting, Carl found clinical interventions to be of limited use to a population which avoids the clinic as if mental illness spreads like the flu in a crowded doctor’s office. While treating veterans of Korea, Khe Sanh, and Ramadi; he saw the cost of untreated psychological wounds to veterans and their families.

He is pursuing a Doctorate in Public Health at the University of Colorado Denver to better leverage his broad personal and professional experience to impact veterans mental health at a strategic level. By leading efforts reduce stigma and increase help-seeking behavior among veterans struggling with invisible wounds. His work will reduce the burden of mental illness and suicide among those who selflessly served the nation.