Military Medical Students Move to New Theatre of Operations

Posted in GUMC Stories

MAY 16, 2015 – For a select few Georgetown medical students, they’ll live their lives upholding two professional oaths – the Hippocratic Oath, taken by physicians to uphold certain ethical standards in medicine, and the military oath to country.

Seven newly minted physicians – four US Air Force officers, two US Navy officers, and a US Army officer – received promotions during a ceremony May 16, an annual tradition at Georgetown University School of Medicine for students who received a medical school education through the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) .

Each physician became an officer either prior to or during their medical training.

Newest “Greatest Generation”

Special guest speaker LtCol Rob Craig-Gray,* MD, MPH, (USAF), says he considers this class of graduates the “newest version of the ‘greatest generation’.” 

Craig-Gray is a family medicine physician who, since 2012, served as chief of Aerospace Medicine, a division of the Air Force that provides primary care, preventive medicine and occupational medicine for pilots, aircrews and missile crews who experience unique stressors and conditions.

Completing medical school and service to country “take a great deal of courage, dedication and almost a leap of faith … to do something for a bigger entity; something outside and larger than one’s self,” Craig-Gray says. “They’ve done that once already by dedicating their lives to helping and healing others, but to accept another calling or challenge to protect the greater good is also noteworthy.” 

He offers the new doctors three rules for success in military endeavors: “Do nothing (sometimes), do what’s legal and do what’s right!”   

The Places You’ll Go

Craig-Gray says his military career as a physician has been “a great experience and I’ve been lucky to work with some truly great people in many different assignments,” he says. “The military has allowed me to do things that often others only dream of as well as see places that normally as an everyday physician in my day-to-day activities, one may not see.”

Dean for Medical Education Stephen Ray Mitchell, MD, MBA, officiated the ceremony. Mitchell attended medical school as an Air Force HPSP student and served on active duty for eight years and in the reserves for four years. He credits the military for bringing him to Georgetown.

“The Air Force brought me to Washington where my chief of service was a Georgetown alum and a rheumatologist,” he said. “I was offered a fellowship at Georgetown and I never left!”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Mitchell presented each officer with a Georgetown School of Medicine HPSP “challenge coin.”

A Different Kind of Operation

USAF CPT Weston Stover (M’15) grew up wanting to serve in the military, but had his eye on special operations, before finding his true calling in medicine.

“Although I won’t be an elite government trained weapon, I will be an elite trained physician whose theatre is the operating room, where I will combat the enemy by healing our own,” Stover said. He’ll study general surgery training at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas.

US Army CPT Kelli Ishihara (M’15), says she looks forward to expanding her knowledge base and honing her surgical skills during residency at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu. 

“I come from a military family and so I was well informed about the benefits of serving in the military and sense of fulfillment that comes with serving our country,” she said.

The HPSP ceremony is held annually the day before medical school graduation and is coordinated by Jett McCann, senior associate dean for knowledge management at the medical school. McCann served in the US Navy for 42 years (active and reserve duty). Brandon Hudson, executive assistant at the Dahlgren Library, assists with the planning. His grandfather is retired from the US Air Force.

*Craig-Gray is the brother of Deborah C. Bassard, director of human resources for Georgetown University Medical Center.

By Karen Teber (whose brother is retired from the U.S. Army)
GUMC Communications