2017 Tillman Scholar

Dave Prakash

Air Force
Stanford University
M.S., Management

“Don’t let who you are limit what you can do; don’t let what you do limit who you can be.”

Dave was a medical student living in Washington, D.C. when he experienced the attacks of 9/11. As an immigrant from India, the terrorist attacks on his adopted country resonated deeply. He resigned from his medical residency training to commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force. Dave entered pilot training to serve in a combat role and became a bomber pilot.

Dave served in the B-52. His unique perspective as aviator and physician served him well as an operational test pilot. Dave tested new weapons and systems that increased the lethality of the venerable bomber. As a flight surgeon, he never lost sight of the human element as he cared for the same people that served beside him. He fought to improve the human-machine interface in future bomber platforms and initiated a program to modernize B-52 ejection seats that will save lives and reduce life-cycle costs.

As a Tillman Scholar, Prakash attended Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in order to help build a company that will save lives by helping surgeons think more like pilots by applying aviation safety principles and electronic checklists in the operating room. Today, Dave works on artificial intelligence and machine-learning technology in healthcare and on future aerospace systems. In his free time, Dave advises early-stage companies and is a member of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Renal Disease Council.