2020 Tillman Scholar

Jonathan Lu

Arizona State University

“Too many of my brothers and sisters came home and never stopped fighting. Using a team-based approach, I want to help them find the peace that eludes us all.”

A first-generation immigrant with an American dream, Jonathan enlisted in the U.S. Army as a combat medic in 2003. During two deployments in Iraq, Jonathan lamented on his lack of training to identify and initially manage behavioral health concerns that his patients often presented in clinic. Frustrated with attempts to seek behavioral healthcare for his patients while deployed, Jonathan resolved to one day effect needed change and improve care for all soldiers.

Encouraged by a Green Beret, Jonathan qualified as a Special Forces medical sergeant and subsequently deployed several times to Southeast Asia and Afghanistan. During this time, Jonathan first hypothesized that certain biopsychosocial factors predisposed the Army Special Forces population to worsening health outcomes more severely than previously held. In his master of public health capstone project, Jonathan conceptualized a framework that described two distinct, yet interrelated pathways toward worsening health and behavior outcomes among Special Forces soldiers. He remains committed toward advancing behavioral health advocacy for all service members.

Now a Special Forces team sergeant, Jonathan continues to lead through humble service to others His highest calling is to inspire those he leads to live up to their potential—to include seeking care and developing skills to better manage the impacts of invisible and often repetitive traumas. He is pursuing a doctorate in behavioral health from Arizona State University. Jonathan continues to work toward improving health integration in the military as well as for nurses and firefighters within his own community.