2019 Tillman Scholar

Jason Theis

Johns Hopkins University

“I am driven to continue service through medicine by diminishing mental health stigmas and improving clinicians’ cultural familiarity with the veteran population through research, collaboration and hard work.”

Originally from Michigan, Jason entered the Army straight out of high school. He was seeking direction, yearning for adventure and answering the call to service following Sept. 11th. As a signals intelligence analyst for nearly seven years, serving in South Korea and Iraq, Jason witnessed firsthand the hardships of war on local communities in Baghdad and on returning service members and their families. These experiences motivated him to pursue a career in medicine.

During his final assignment as an analyst in the intelligence community in Maryland, Jason explored his medical interests by volunteering at a trauma hospital in Baltimore while taking night classes. Inspired by the leadership and teamwork of different health professionals, the same core principles vital to success in the military, Jason separated from the Army to study medicine full time.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Maryland, College Park, where his relationships with and peer support from other student veterans propelled his academic and personal growth. Jason went on to complete a master’s degree in public health from the Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is currently working toward a medical degree at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. After graduation, he plans to train in a psychiatry residency, and ultimately apply his medical, research and public health interests to improving veteran mental health care and reducing suicide on a population level.