2021 Tillman Scholar

Jamie Fleshman

Emory University

“Everyone heals differently, and I want to influence physical therapy and healthcare policies so that individualized and quality care is the priority.”

Inspired by the faraway, dreamy look in her Navy veteran mother’s eyes when she talked about her days of service, Jamie enlisted in the Navy after high school in pursuit of the same feeling. Jamie served as a Mandarin Chinese linguist for eight years, working for both the Navy and National Security Agency on missions aimed at protecting our nation’s flying forces and Pacific assets.

Not an active person before the military, it was during her physically-demanding time as an aircrew warfare specialist in Japan that she began to appreciate the role physical health and wellness played in maintaining her own mental and emotional health. With this in mind, she finished her service with the military to pursue a bachelor of science in human physiology at the University of Oregon. During her undergraduate career, Jamie discovered a passion for social justice through a secondary focus in women’s and gender studies. This led her to seek out the dual doctorate of physical therapy and master of public health program at Emory, where she now strives to acquire the skills necessary to implement community-based rehabilitation programs for the most vulnerable and marginalized populations in society.

Jamie’s personal experience as a queer-identified woman in a time of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has inspired her work of helping to address healthcare disparities disproportionately affecting the LGBTQ+ community. She does this currently through the development of educational programming for physical therapy students and faculty that gives voice and perspective to the struggle of LGBTQ+ individuals.