2022 Tillman Scholar

Thomas Murphy

Duke University
Doctor of Medicine

“No matter how dire the circumstances, the outstretched hand of a medical provider speaks in a universal language—a language I hope one day to become fluent in.”

After becoming embroiled in the foster care system in adolescence, a volunteer fire department in Connecticut took Tom under its wing. These men and women showed Tom that he could find peace in his loss by helping others in their time of need. Following graduation from high school, Tom pursued degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Paramedicine. Less than a year into his engineering career, Tom realized that his true calling was medicine.

Eager to serve in the war he had watched from academia, he enlisted in the Army and underwent training as a Special Forces Medical Sergeant. During 7 years of service providing medicine in austere environments, Tom’s passion for medicine grew exponentially. He learned powerful lessons about bridging differences between patients and providers on the international stage. Eager to have a broader impact on special operations medicine, his focus shifted to attending medical school and conducting research that would benefit the often-overlooked group of medical providers that must operate far from formal medical facilities.

Tom plans to utilize the lessons he learned while deployed to help bridge healthcare inequities in the US, along with pioneering research to help improve care abroad. As a future member of the Tillman Scholar community, Tom hopes to motivate those from all backgrounds by showing them that they truly can accomplish anything. At the core of his motivation are the words from John Quincy Adam, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”