2021 Tillman Scholar
Dr. Russell J. Ledet is a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana. At 18, Ledet enlisted in the U.S. Navy. His first duty station was in the nation’s capital as a ceremonial guardsman. He subsequently completed cryptology training in Pensacola, Florida, and was assigned to the U.S.S John L. Hall, based in Mayport, Florida. Ledet has been awarded multiple Navy Achievement Medals for his leadership.
After five years of active duty service, Ledet transitioned to the U.S.N Reserves, based in Pensacola, Florida, while also attending Southern University. He also worked as a security guard at Baton Rouge General Hospital. He went on to complete degrees in chemistry and biology. Subsequently, Ledet went on to obtain his Ph.D. in molecular oncology and tumor immunology from the NYU School of Medicine. His scientific work focused on protein modifications in prostate cancer progression. His thesis work was most recently published in Nature Communications.
After NYU, he began his medical training journey at Tulane School of Medicine and Freeman School of Business. Since starting medical school, Ledet has co-founded The 15 White Coats, a world-renowned organization that helps to propel underrepresented minority students into medicine. Most recently, he was able to return to Baton Rouge General Hospital to train, and his journey to do so was covered by People, NPR, the Washington Post, The Steve Harvey Show, Good Morning America, and others. Following medical school, he plans to specialize in child and adolescent psychiatry, with a focus on mental health accessibility for marginalized communities.