The Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) is an internationally recognized academic medical center whose missions of research, teaching, and patient care are carried out with a strong emphasis on community outreach and the Jesuit principle of cura personalis — care of the whole person.
Georgetown University Medical Center would like to congratulate our students who recently graduated from the Health Professions Scholarship Program at the Military Commissioning Ceremony, a part of the School of Medicine commencement activities, and recognize all Georgetown students, facutly and staff — past and present–who have honorably served.
During the recent commissioning ceremony on May 20, 2011, eight medical students representing the Air Force, Army and Navy took the oath of office and received ranks of lieutenants and captains. At the event, the Georgetown students heard from alumnus, Captain James J. Chun of the U.S. Navy, who congratulated them on their valiant efforts.
Hoyas who have served previously in the military would like to say “We are proud of you” to these medical students who were commissioned as military officers.
Dedication and service to the United States military is a long tradition at Georgetown University School of Medicine (GUSOM).
Stephen Ray Mitchell, dean for medical education, and a former recipient of the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) with the United States Air Force, said Georgetown’s commitment to military service spans several years. Georgetown’s military highlights include:
Georgetown’s first mascot, Sergeant Stubby, was WWI’s most decorated war dog, receiving top honors. He is the only dog known to be promoted to sergeant through combat. Georgetown’s School of Medicine closed early in 1941 and 1945 so its medical students could serve in World War II.
On Sept. 11, 2011 Georgetown Hoya David Tarantino (M’92), who was serving at the Pentagon, had rushed to save the lives of those injured in the attack. In addition to Dean Mitchell, several other members of the faculty and staff have served in the military including Itzhak Brook, professor of pediatrics, and Jett McCann, associate dean for knowledge management at SOM’s Dahlgren Memorial Library.
Itzhak Brook served as a reserve medic in the Israeli Army while attending medical school. Upon graduation, he treated soldiers with medical, surgical and psychological issues during the 1973 Yom Kippur War in the Middle East. One of the challenges he encountered at that time was to find a way to tell the soldiers under his care that, “it is OK to be afraid and be worried” and they were not alone.
In 1974, Brook came to the United States. “When I learned about the opportunities in the military and the funding they provided for research, I signed right up,” he adds. Brook served in the U.S. Navy for 27 years, retiring in 2006. While in the Navy, he researched infection in divers, recurrent tonsillitis, as well as burn infections, and the effects of ionizing radiation on an infection. Most recently, he studied the effects of exposure to anthrax following the anthrax scares.
“I am so proud of these young men and women physicians who serve in the US military and who care for patients while serving their country,” says Brook, who joined the faculty at Georgetown in 1991 “We care. Soldiers must know they won’t be abandoned.”
Jett McCann joined the Navy Reserve, while still in high school, following in the footsteps of his father. McCann’s father spent 43 years on active duty in the Second World War, as well as the conflicts Korea and Vietnam. After attending college, Jett pursued a graduate degree in Library & Information Sciences, which landed him faculty positions in several medical libraries that ultimately led him to Georgetown.
While at Georgetown, he continued to participate twice a month in the Navy Reserves. “If I didn’t have the support of my wife and family, it would have been tough to complete. But, my love of country is so strong; it is an honor to serve.”
And, after nearly 42 years of distinguished service, Captain McCann retired in the fall of 2010. “To the future doctors and students that will serve their country– I can’t express enough thanks and say how grateful we are as you continue the Georgetown legacy.”
Two of those students who will carry on that legacy are Tony Macedonia and Lauren Vasta. For them, joining the military was always on their mind, and the HPSP Scholarship made it a reality. Macedonia joined the Navy during his second year of medical school.
Following in the footsteps of his grandfather, a WWII veteran, and his uncle, also a veteran, he decided to pursue a military career. Practicing medicine in the military was not a difficult decision given his family history. His grandfather, father and uncles are all doctors. Lieutenant Macedonia will go on to study orthopedic surgery and continue the family practice of providing medical care.
“Those who sacrifice so much for our country deserve quality doctors and medical care,” he says.
Lauren Vasta knew during her college years that she wanted to join the military, the opportunity to receive top-quality training and to help those stateside and abroad were appealing. Now in her fourth year of military service, US Army Captain Vasta will practice pediatrics at the National Capital Consortium (Walter Reed Medical Center and National Naval Medical Center).
“One of the motivating forces for me is the notion that the military is one enormous family. It does not matter who you are, where you came from, what you have or what you don’t – Everyone is equal and deserving. It is an indescribable feeling to be part of this community. Each time I drive onto the base, I am filled with a sense of pride and humility as it is a great honor to work with and amongst my military family.”