2014 Tillman Scholar

Nicholas White

Marine Corps
Columbia University
Ph.D., Medicine

“My goal is to contribute to research that advances new therapies for neuropsychological diseases and injuries which afflict many veterans.”

Inspired by the efforts of his generational peers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, in 2006 Nicholas decided to leave his Ph.D. program at Harvard University in order to serve in the Marine Corps. As an infantry officer, Nicholas deployed with his platoon to Ramadi, Iraq, and again as a member of a military training and transition team advising the Iraqi Marine Corps and Navy in Umm Qasr, Iraq. Over the course of those two deployments, Nicholas worked every day alongside Iraqi military and police officers who were attempting to reestablish security in their country and rebuild their communities day-by-day.

When he was returning to the U.S. after his second deployment, Nicholas wanted to find a way to build up and strengthen his own community, and he turned to medicine as the career where he could make the most significant difference. He saw in medicine an opportunity to take the same team-building, mission-centric skills he developed in the Marines and apply them to some of the most intractable problems in our society: including lack of access to affordable health care and a generation of veterans with complicated medical and psychiatric sequelae of their deployments for which the medical infrastructure is unprepared.

Currently, Nicholas is pursuing his MD at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. As he progresses towards his degree, he volunteers each week at a student-run medical clinic in Harlem for the homeless and underinsured, and he continues his research interests in the unique challenges of medically-underserved communities, including the homeless and veterans.