2014 Tillman Scholar
Following in his father’s footsteps, Tom accepted an NROTC scholarship at Duke University as a Marine Option in 2001. He graduated in 2005 and became an infantry officer with First Battalion, Sixth Marine Regiment. He deployed as a platoon commander to conduct combat operations in Ar Ramadi, Iraq and Helmand, Afghanistan. Although he loved leading Marines, Tom was also granted an incredibly exclusive and intimate window into the human condition. This new perspective is really what drove him towards medical school.
Tom’s interest in orthopedics actually started in anatomy lab with Dr. Frank Bassett when he was a Duke undergrad. During his post-baccalaureate training, he volunteered at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas where he witnessed not only the staggering complexities of the healing process but also the profound satisfaction of being a part of the healing team. He watched with fascination as surgeons reconstructed knees, feet, hands, and spines, providing patients with priceless renewed functionality. On a broader scale, he admired how the medical team collaborated to determine the best course of action, making crucial decisions under pressure guided by their years of intensive study and mentorship. He was inspired by the personal sacrifices they made for each other, always putting the patient first.
Tom decided to work to become a Navy orthopedic surgeon with the intent of giving back to those young men and women who give so much to our country. He wants them to know on those dark nights in those tough places that there is a solid team ready to take care of them – always. Tom hopes to bring a unique set of life experiences, leadership, compassion, knowledge, and teamwork skills to Navy Medicine and hopefully one day help provide superior care to our nation’s warriors and their families.