2024 Tillman Scholar

William Harris

Harvard University

“Military veterans have unique needs that can be difficult to communicate to healthcare providers. As a physician, I will help shape the future of primary care for the veteran community.”

Will grew up in a military family and spent most of his childhood in upstate New York and north Georgia. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 2013 and spent 8 years as a submariner. He served as the Reactor Controls Assistant and Assistant Engineer Officer on a fast-attack submarine, where he led highly trained sailors on two deployments in the Pacific. 

While in the Navy, he met his wife, Phoebe, also a submarine officer. In dealing with medical emergencies while deployed on submarines, Will discovered a passion for medicine. He recognized many parallels between nuclear submarine operations and patient care, including the need for technical expertise, mature leadership skills, and the ability to respond quickly and calmly to emergencies. 

In 2021, Will transitioned off active duty and enrolled at Harvard Medical School. There, he helps lead the Military-Civilian Collaborative, a network of health professionals in the Harvard system that brings doctors and students together in the intersecting domains of civilian and military medicine. His research focuses on improving disease prevention and screening for veterans through partnership with the Boston VA Medical Center. After medical school, Will plans to complete residency training in internal medicine in order to practice as an adult primary care physician. He hopes to have an impact as a clinician and researcher in improving primary care for military veterans and their families.