2019 Tillman Scholar

Eunice Thomsen-Johnson

Vanderbilt University
MSN, Midwifery

“Becoming a midwife and nurse practitioner will allow me to reduce mortality and ease the suffering for women and infants.”

Eunice served in the Army for almost 12 years. While deployed to Iraq, her husband, a member of Special Forces was killed in Afghanistan. In the years after his death, she was exposed to suffering beyond that of her own family. She deeply felt the grief of her own comrades and the families of the other fallen soldiers, which led her to earn an undergraduate degree in Psychology Crisis Counseling.  

After separating from the Army, she taught at the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school at Camp Mackall. It was during this time that she realized her calling to become a registered nurse, so she enrolled in the Duke University School of Nursing, graduating in 2018.

Although her unique life path exposed her to human suffering, it also revealed her ability to connect with her patients on a personal level. During her Labor and Delivery clinicals, she admired the unique bond between the patients and their nurses during the birthing process. She became a doula, focusing on helping minority women, in particular, who do not have a strong birthing support system. While studying at Duke, she learned of the high maternal and neonatal mortality rates in the United States, which sharply contrasts with countries who have integrated midwives as part of their healthcare system. This revelation motivated her to pursue a graduate degree in Midwifery and Nurse Practitioner. As an NP Midwife, Eunice’s goal is to help decrease the maternal mortality rates in the minority population.