2019 Tillman Scholar

Sherry Cox

Air Force
University of San Fransisco

“I hope to help veterans make long lasting lifestyle changes that empower them in making healthcare decisions.”

From an early age, Sherry knew she wanted to be a nurse. Little did she know where that decision would take her – literally all over the world. Over a 30-year career as an Air Force Nurse Corp Officer, Sherry moved up the ranks from Second Lieutenant to Colonel, assuming numerous leadership roles along the way.

After retiring, Sherry felt compelled to continue to serve others, particularly at the VA. Shortly after joining the Primary Care Department at the Birmingham VA, she learned of the severity of the opioid crisis facing our Nation and in particular, the Veteran population. After learning that Veterans are twice as likely to die from an opioid overdose, Sherry and a physician at the VA developed a Whole Health approach to helping Veterans decrease their opioid reliance. What started out as a small process improvement in one clinic at a single VA, quickly became a best practice, and spread to other clinics in her facility, along with several other VA facilities. This approach has the potential to save lives, as it places the Veteran in the driver’s seat of all their healthcare decisions, to include how and when to reduce their opioid reliance.

Passionate about her work, Sherry decided to return to the academic world to pursue her Doctor of Nursing in Executive Leadership at the University of San Francisco. Her Doctoral studies have allowed her to train and lead healthcare teams to apply this cutting-edge training application for helping veterans make long lasting lifestyle changes.