2022 Tillman Scholar

Emily DesMeules

Military Spouse
University of Utah
Master of Physician Assistant Studies

“By leveraging Advanced Practice Providers, we can expand rural healthcare access, improving the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities, particularly those who experience barriers to care.”

After receiving  her undergraduate degree in Political Science from Yale University, Emily spent a year in South Africa working with a non-profit that provided legal aid to refugees. Having experienced the powerful impact of this organization, Emily returned home inspired to serve her community. Over the next few years she split her time between Vermont and Idaho working in pre-hospital and emergency healthcare in the winters and as a wildland firefighter and helirappeller for the U.S. Forest Service in the summers.

In her time spent living and working in rural areas, Emily came to recognize a need for expanded access to healthcare in areas that are far from the resources of a large hospital. Long travel times to access specialized healthcare can be a prohibitive burden to patients and families, particularly for low income or marginalized communities who already experience barriers to care, including veterans in rural areas who don’t have access to a VA Medical Center.

Emily is passionate about providing quality healthcare access in rural communities and helping patients overcome barriers to care. She hopes to work in rural family practice and women’s health after graduation, providing care for isolated and Indigenous communities, while also advocating for expanded use of PAs in rural areas to better meet the growing need for quality healthcare in rural and underserved areas. Emily is also deeply interested in austere medicine and hopes to provide humanitarian medical aid in resource-limited environments and conflict zones during her career as a PA.

Emily draws inspiration from her husband Caleb, who served 8 years in the Army, including two combat tours in Iraq.  He continues to serve his community in his work as a wildland firefighter and helirappeller for the U.S. Forest Service.