2015 Tillman Scholar

Sarah-Blythe Ballard

Johns Hopkins University
Ph.D., International Health

“The military has taught me that there is a greater good that unites us as global citizens.”

On Sept. 11, Sarah-Blythe was finishing the last of her medical school prerequisites when she realized that just going into medicine wasn’t enough. She wanted to help her country–and she eventually found her calling as a Navy Flight Surgeon.

In the Navy, board certified in Aerospace and Preventive Medicine, Sarah-Blythe has led medical mishap investigations for over 20 incidents around the globe, overseen emergency response while deployed downrange, and mourned the lives of friends and colleagues who died flying honorably far from home. Collectively, these experiences have motivated her to prevent the loss of more lives, constantly reminding her of the human element behind each mishap report and crash data set.

Whether in the clinic, in the classroom, or in the cockpit, her military training has provided her with the skills to think critically about the situation at hand, incredible mentors and inspiring corpsmen with which to work, and the discipline to persevere in the face of adversity. In order to make a greater impact as a career medical officer, Sarah-Blythe is pursuing her PhD in Global Disease Epidemiology & Control at Johns Hopkins University. This special skill set will allow her to contribute to the unique needs of individuals deployed or living in remote and tropical settings.

Upon completing PhD training, she will return to the Navy to become a Scientific Department Head of Naval Medical Research Unit Number Six in Peru. Afterward, she hopes to represent the Navy at the World Health Organization and continue serving the international community.