I have a diverse background and grew up in Scottsdale, AZ. For my Arizona audience, I graduated from Coronado High School in Scottsdale in 1985. I enlisted in the Navy in the summer of 1985, and was then accepted into the United States Naval Academy and graduated with the class of 1990.
I may major duty stations were numerous, from Navy Nuclear Power School in Orlando, Florida, then on to Pocatello, Idaho for nuclear power prototype training. Next step was the Navy Submarine School. Through an unusual twist and a long story later, I ended up on the USS Dixon and my shore tour was at the Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD). I realized that I wanted to be a physician when I was a young lieutenant and began completing my pre-med courses while stationed at NMCSD. After eight years in the Navy, I accepted a Navy Health Professions Scholarship and transitioned to the Naval Reserves while in medical school. I relocated to Glendale, Arizona in 1998. I graduated from the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2002.
I returned to active duty upon graduation and I completed my internship at the Naval Medical Center, San Diego in 2003. I was immediately deployed to the Western Pacific on the USS Bridge, leaving my family in a hotel in Bremerton, Washington, until our house was ready. I had less than one month notification for this deployment.
I was accepted into the Navy full-time out service residency program and I trained in a non-military residency while still in the Navy. I was in Los Angeles, California from 2005-2009 and was fortunate to train with an excellent group of staff physicians. I completed my Radiation Oncology residency at the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California (USC) Medical Centers.
I returned to the Naval Medical Center, San Diego where I spent the next six years as a staff physician, head of the Radiation Oncology Division, as well as Medical Director. I retired as a Commander in 2015. I completed 22 years of active duty service and am grateful for having the honor of serving our country and taking care of the men and women that have defended our country.
I moved back to Arizona in September 2015, if you see a trend, and am now the Radiation Oncology Medical Director at the Yuma Regional Medical Center, located in Yuma, Arizona. I wanted a different lifestyle for not only myself, but my family. I felt it was important to spend more time with the family, ensuring that the boys develop into honorable young men. A smaller community means a shorter commute, and I have gained almost a full work day back by reducing my drive time by almost 90 minutes per day.
One of my passions in Yuma has been helping our veterans navigate the Veteran’s Administration for health claims. Our aging veteran population has a unique list of environmental exposures while in the service and that can impact their health. I’ve met veterans who witnessed above ground nuclear weapons testing, sailed to ground zero and have met many individuals with Agent Orange exposure. The VA recognizes environmental factors that increase the lifetime risk for cancer and has a process for disability claims even though the exposure happened decades previously.
I also helped active duty and retired service members with medical record screening. For my active duty population, it is most important to have your medical record screening done at least a year prior to separation from their respective branch of service for valid VA disability claims. The wear and tear that these individuals have done over the years is significant. One sailor I met had over 12 surgeries over his 18 year career in the Navy Special Warfare community!
Lastly, I have to thank my wife and kids for being flexible throughout this journey. I could not have done this without them!