2016 Tillman Scholar
For Matt, the Army has provided the opportunity to care for service members, while becoming a leader in health care. As he began his career at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), he did so not knowing what to expect with limited clinical and life experience. That all changed quickly working as a nurse. While serving at WRAMC and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he often received patients within five days of their initial injuries, most from Afghanistan, and witnessed up close the tragedy of war. Of the five quadruple amputee patients injured during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, three have been his patients.
As debilitating as the physical injuries were, Matt learned it was the invisible injuries that were often most overlooked and particularly challenging for those in his care. So in 2013, he began the next phase of his career as a behavioral health nurse, working with patients suffering from PTSD. Over time, providing care to service members with physical and psychological trauma has strengthened his commitment to the veteran community. Now, as he pursues a Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Science in Social Policy (MSSP), he aspires to work on public health policies that improve behavioral health resources for Veterans and underserved populations, especially rural and impoverished communities.
Working in the field of public health policy, Matt wants to specifically identify barriers to care, identify successful local programs, and improve or eliminate programs not meeting performance objectives. By working for the government, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, or for a non-profit organization in which the mission is to provide high-quality behavioral health services, he ultimately hopes to reduce medical costs and improve overall health outcomes utilizing principles of preventative medicine.