2016 Tillman Scholar

Jay Vinnedge

Air Force
University of Oklahoma

“The military gave me an unprecedented appreciation for the human condition.”

Despite his fears of aviation, war, and other uncertainties, Jay enlisted in the Air Force as an Aeromedical Evacuation Medical Technician. A fourth-generation servicemember, Jay saw three deployments within his first seven years of service, which taught him the importance of applying gratitude for life, and love for humanity in his everyday practices. Having developed skills in operations planning, task prioritization, and mission execution, Jay was prepared for his assignment to Antarctica, where his experience was put to the ultimate test when he and his teammates transformed a small, resource-barren clinic into a four-bed trauma ward in response to a Korean helicopter crash that had occurred 200 miles away.

This incident culminated into an exhausting, but successful 41-hour workday. In addition to providing preventive and acute care for the civilians and aviators on McMurdo Station, this mass casualty required flexibility, quick-wittedness, and teamwork. This singular day required Jay and his teammates to provide ambulatory care, emergency care, critical care, and aerospace medicine skills under the leadership of a talented board-certified family medicine doctor who held a civilian hospital job, as well as an appointment as an Air National Guard Flight Surgeon.

Jay saw how a well-rounded physician could bridge gaps in healthcare both home and abroad, which inspired him to seek training to become a physician. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 2019, and now works as a hospitalist, Air National Guard Flight Surgeon, owns a Direct Primary Care practice, and is the founder of The Well-Rounded Physician, where he hopes to inspire future healthcare providers to seek wellness in the workplace, and well-roundedness outside of the workplace, to better serve their communities.