Anthony Dolomisiewicz: Veteran, medical student, Tillman Scholar

How this student became the third Tillman Scholar at Texas A&M College of Medicine in three years
April 9, 2018

Anthony Dolomisiewicz was named one of the nation’s top student-veterans while pursuing his Doctor of Medicine at the College of Medicine. This unique recognition by the Pat Tillman foundation recognizes veterans with a unique opportunity to continue serving their country outside the armed forces, and gives them financial assistance to help accomplish their educational dreams. He is the third student in the college to receive a scholarship from the Tillman Foundation.

The Pat Tillman Foundation provides scholarships to veterans and their spouses to build a community of leaders who serve others. The foundation was created to honor Pat Tillman, an NFL player who died in the line of duty while serving the U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan. Dolomisiewicz is among nearly 60 members who shared more than $1.1 million in scholarships in 2017.

After the terrorist attacks on 9-11, Dolomisiewicz joined the U.S. Army, going on to become a Special Forces Medical Sergeant. During 12 years of service, he was deployed multiple times with the 10th Special Forces Group, Green Berets, which are considered the U.S. military’s premier unconventional soldiers—they are cross-trained in weapons, intelligence, engineering, communications and medicine.

“I joined the U.S. Army after graduating from high school because it was something I always wanted to do. In the wake of the 9-11 attacks, I felt that it was my duty to serve. I am a first-generation American, and I had the desire to serve the country that provided a home and opportunity for my family,” said Dolomisiewicz.

Having a keen interest in providing medical care and treatment during missions, he chose the medical sergeant subspecialty at the Special Forces school.

Dolomisiewicz was assigned to the Special Warfare Medical Group (Airborne) for two years, and he was responsible for training more than 1,000 medics annually from all branches of the military. As the noncommissioned officer in charge of training, he planned and implemented restructuring the special operations combat medical skills sustainment course. The restructuring included more hands-on casualty scenarios and emphasis on realistic practice of medical skills.

“All medics from U.S. Special Operations Command went through this course. As an instructor, I often noticed in trauma scenarios that students needed more than just a little brush up, and they could use more extensive hands-on training and scenarios. This would give them the opportunity to learn from prior scenarios and apply what they learned in subsequent training iterations,” Dolomisiewicz said. “We were able to provide every student the opportunity to navigate scenarios involving multiple casualties simultaneously requiring judicious use of resources, a scenario that often is not trained but is encountered in theater. I changed the course curriculum with the help of the course instructors, and we were able to better train medics deploying overseas.”

While serving on active duty, Dolomisiewicz took night and weekend courses to earn his undergraduate degree. It was during this time that Dolomisiewicz developed a passion to attend medical school and become a physician.

“I wanted to get better in medicine, the operational aspect of the medical sergeant’s role—providing medical screening, supervising medical care during missions, treating trauma patients—led to self-learning; I had mentors who encouraged me to go to medical school. I interviewed at quite a few medical schools, but at Texas A&M, I felt very welcome, especially due to my military service; I felt they viewed me as an asset,” said Dolomisiewicz.

Texas A&M University is a partner institution for the Pat Tillman Foundation, helping identify and select qualified Tillman Scholar candidates on campus to grow this scholars’ community. The College of Medicine has a history of selfless service, a core university value. The foundation of the college is built on a service mindset, and Dolomisiewicz has been recognized by the college for possessing this quality. Dean Carrie L. Byington, MD, has remarked on how the college is honored to have students like Dolomisiewicz, who are engrained with a service mindset.

“It felt good being selected in recognition of all of my achievements in the military, especially having been out of the military for a few years when I was selected. The Tillman Foundation emphasizes dedication to service. For me, selfless service is serving your community or nation without regard to your personal gain. That’s an important distinction; the primary goal should not be personal gain in public service. With service that you volunteered for, you should view any benefits with gratitude, not as entitlements,” Dolomisiewicz said.

Currently in his fourth year and finishing his final rotation, Dolomisiewicz is preparing for graduation. His residency in internal medicine will be at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Also, he has commissioned with the National Guard, where he plans to serve as a military physician. He wants to apply his service as a physician at the Veterans Health Administration, where can utilize his experience as a medic and instructor. His ultimate goal is to improve the survival rate of casualties through superior medical training.

— Tamim Choudhury

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