2021 Tillman Scholar

Christopher Bellaire

Marine Corps
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

“The Marine ethos of Semper Fidelis inspires my medical training to always seek fidelity and truth in science while remaining faithful to my patients and values.”

Chris is a Marine Corps veteran and medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Chris graduated from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs in 2011. He served as an intelligence officer in the Marine Corps for four years, with deployments to Japan and the southern Philippines. During his deployment to the southern Philippines in 2017, an ISIS-aligned terrorist group attacked and took over the city of Marawi, killing hundreds of people and creating a humanitarian crisis of 300,000 internally displaced persons. Chris was part of the Special Operations task force that spearheaded the U.S. mission: to advise and assist host-nation partners on counterterrorism operations against the ISIS threat.

From this experience, Chris took to heart the human consequences of war and poverty and the disparities in global healthcare access. Following his service in the Marines, Chris attended Columbia University’s post-baccalaureate pre-medical program before starting medical school at Mount Sinai. Chris is committed to advocating for veterans’ health in his medical training and future career as a physician, and he hopes to increase awareness within the medical community about how military service can affect veterans’ physical and mental health later in life. Chris volunteers with the educational non-profit Service to School to encourage veterans to pursue careers in medicine, and he is the leader of the military medicine and veterans healthcare group at Mount Sinai.