2024 Tillman Scholar

Christopher Carvalho

University of California - Los Angeles
MD, Masters of Clinical Research

“​​Improving veteran health is a mission that requires a dedicated cross-disciplinary team.”

Chris enlisted in the Army as a combat medic after his close friend was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Afghanistan. Chris felt a duty to join his peers on the front lines, hoping to play a role in bringing more Americans home in addition to caring for all those affected by the conflict. He completed two years of training to become an Army Ranger and Special Operations Combat Medic and immediately deployed to Afghanistan. 

Not long after arriving, out on a routine mission, he found himself treating his severely wounded teammate in the middle of a six-hour gunfight. Chris was the only medical provider on the ground that night and provided immediate care, but it was thanks to phenomenal teamwork, a daring medical evacuation, and skilled surgeons that his teammate lived. Following Chris’s experiences, he knew the best way to continue serving was as a physician. 

Chris is now a third-year medical student at UCLA actively researching veteran health outcomes with the VA and completing a Master of Science in Clinical Research alongside his medical degree. He plans to serve as a physician-investigator at an academic center guiding nationwide VA research efforts. Balancing patient care and research, he seeks to address the unique healthcare needs of our nation’s veterans while contributing valuable insights to the broader population. Chris plans to leverage his experience as a combat medic, VA healthcare patient, and future physician-investigator––as well as the experience of his cross-disciplinary colleagues––to improve health outcomes.