2019 Tillman Scholar

Sherry Cox

Air Force
University of San Fransisco

“I believe the key to assisting Veterans to reduce or discontinue their reliance on opioids lies both in establishing trust and partnering with them to help them live their best life.”

After retiring from the United States Air Force as a senior officer, Sherry felt a strong desire to continue to serve her country by working at a Veterans Administration (VA) hospital.  For the past eight years, Sherry has worked diligently to help resolve opioid reliance in the Veteran population. Along with her interdisciplinary team, Sherry developed a whole health approach to partner with Veterans to realize their best life by reducing or discontinuing their opioid usage. Sherry and her team won several accolades from the successes and outcomes of their work, to include being awarded the VA’s Diffusion of Excellence Award for spreading their best practice to other VA facilities.

Initially, returning to the academic setting seemed a bit daunting for Sherry, however once she enrolled in the Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) at the University of San Francisco, she knew she had found the exact program needed to prepare her for what would become her life’s work.

In December 2020, Sherry graduated from the USF’s DNP program. In the midst of the Pandemic, Sherry and her team transitioned their approach to an on-line program where Veterans would meet weekly in a virtual setting. Sherry and her team plan on continuing their approach through the pandemic and beyond to enable Veterans struggling with feelings of isolation and reliance on opioids, to stay connected and engaged with their health care team and fellow Veterans.