2024 Tillman Scholar

Tobin Stauffer

Stanford University

“Through the military, I have come to realize that the practice of medicine is an art. To heal beyond mending and patching, we must first understand patients as individuals.”

At 15, Tobin left his parents’ farm in Pennsylvania and boarded a flight to Tanzania. On his second day, he awoke to find his uncle assisting with extracting infected teeth from local farmers in a nearby office. They would smile through bloodied gauze and swollen lips until the next patient opened the door and sunlight flooded the room. When it was time to go to college, he knew two things: he loved to travel, and he wanted to practice medicine. 

At Florida Atlantic University, Tobin studied chemistry and biology while working as a teacher’s assistant and volunteering at the local emergency department. By his senior year, he was ready to embark on a new adventure. Serving as a Special Forces Medical Sergeant offered that opportunity. Through training and deployments, his ten years as a Green Beret exposed him to the effects of illness and disease in resource-limited communities like those he first witnessed in rural Tanzania. 

After transitioning to the National Guard, Tobin built upon those experiences by serving full-time with AmeriCorps as a K-2 Literacy Coach, researching the intersection of culture and mental illness as a Fulbright Researcher in Punjab, India, and earning an MA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College while exploring the relationship between literature and medicine. Moving forward, Tobin plans to focus his work as a physician on improving access to health care in resource-limited communities across the US and abroad.