In conjunction with our 60 Days of Scholars feature, we are taking a look at the different impact areas of our remarkable 2022 class of Tillman Scholars. Our scholar community has found their passions leading them to diverse fields of studies all with the same goal in mind, unite others and advance ideas that change the world. From business and STEM to education and public service, each week we will be highlighting our brand new scholars and how they plan to make their impact.
Next up, we are checking out the scholars who look to make their impact on the world of healthcare. With a large pool of our 2022 class pursuing careers in healthcare, this is part one of this feature! Check out their impacts below:
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 medical service officer in Afghanistan, Erin was responsible for coordinating medical support operations for thousands of soldiers and civilians at eight bases throughout their combat zone. Erin always had a passion for hearing conservation, but her military service provided her with more focus. She witnessed combat-effected hearing loss through her experiences in Afghanistan and warfighters suffering from irreparable hearing damage. She noticed two major factors that required attention: the declining operational readiness of combat units whose warfighters were pulled from the front lines due to hearing loss, and the declining quality of life these warfighters experienced after returning home. Erin is determined to impact both.
Through his research, Nam strives to advance healthcare at a systemic level. Beyond research, he has targeted gun violence, one of the leading causes of trauma-related death in the US. By implementing a gun violence prevention module and advocacy at DGSOM, Nam aims to reduce firearm injuries and deaths in his community. After medical school, Nam plans to attain further training in treating trauma patients. Remembering the vulnerability of injured patients witnessed throughout his service, Nam wishes to help such a population through acute interventions. In particular, Nam hopes to work closely with the VA healthcare system to care for veterans who often experience long-lasting physical and mental traumas. In continuation of his community work and research endeavors, he aspires to improve the health of his community and beyond.
For Nate, the most rewarding aspect of being a Marine Corpsman was the deeper relationships it allowed him to form with his Marines. He saw firsthand how big of a difference these relationships could make in their overall health. After suffering a back injury, Nate’s dream of a long military career ended. Still wanting to be of service, Nate began medical school at the University of Oklahoma in 2020 with plans to specialize in family medicine. Currently, he is the president of the Family Medicine Interest Group and Veterans and Military Alliance organization on campus. As a physician, Nate hopes to create and maintain meaningful relationships with all of his patients so they can feel empowered, feel heard, and cared for. Additionally, Nate wants to apply the lessons he learned while studying entrepreneurship and innovation to help drive down medical costs and improve health outcomes in his community.
In her time spent living and working in rural areas, Emily came to recognize a need for expanded access to healthcare in areas that are far from the resources of a large hospital. Long travel times to access specialized healthcare can be a prohibitive burden to patients and families, particularly for low income or marginalized communities who already experience barriers to care, including veterans in rural areas who don’t have access to a VA Medical Center. She hopes to work in rural family practice and women’s health after graduation, providing care for isolated and Indigenous communities, while also advocating for expanded use of PAs in rural areas to better meet the growing need for quality healthcare in rural and underserved areas. Emily is also deeply interested in austere medicine and hopes to provide humanitarian medical aid in resource-limited environments and conflict zones during her career as a PA.