Saluting the veterans among us

Nov. 6, 2018

Sprinkled across the School of Medicine are individuals who bring something extra to their roles as learners, staff, faculty or alumni: they served in active duty assignments in the U.S. military.

They credit these experiences for the maturity, solution-orientation, nimbleness, discipline and cultural agility they bring to the work of advancing teaching, healing and discovery.

"For all of us who have the privilege of caring for veterans in our practices and at the VA Portland Health Care System, we know that these individuals stand apart because of their experiences and their service to our country," said School of Medicine Dean Sharon Anderson. "We are doubly honored and fortunate to have veterans and members of the U.S. military as students, staff and colleagues in the school. Thanks to each one of you for your service."

In recognizing the following School of Medicine student, staff member, faculty member and alum, we salute all active and veteran service members in our midst.

Edward Ward, M.D. Class of 2022

Edward WardEdward Ward in White Coat












While disrupting terrorist networks during his seven tours in the Middle East as an Army Ranger, Edward Ward discovered he wanted to be a physician.

He was serving as an emergency medical technician in Afghanistan when Ward and his squad rushed to rescue a helicopter crew chief who had narrowly survived a mid-air collision and was surrounded by fiery wreckage. Ward was able to see the crew chief again four months later when he went stateside for surgical training.

"He broke down in tears and thanked us," Ward said of the crew chief. "He was about to be released from the hospital and was perfectly fine. It's a very mind-blowing experience to have that kind of impact on someone."

His decision to attend medical school was also inspired by his experiences helping people in rural villages during his various military tours and growing up with a cousin who had cystic fibrosis. Ward, who grew up in Williamstown, New Jersey, wants to become an emergency or trauma physician. The GI Bill enabled him to earn a bachelor's degree in neuroscience from Columbia University, the second in his family to attend college. Now, he is the first to attend graduate school.

"The rigorous training path to become a Ranger and the lifestyle that I lived during my years in my unit showed me the value of pushing my limits and led me to appreciate the privilege of working among peers who are willing to make the same sacrifices for a common goal," Ward said.

Farah A. Husain, M.D., F.A.C.S., Associate Professor and Division Chief of Bariatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, OHSU School of Medicine

Farah Husain in combatDr. Farah A. Husain is a veteran of the U.S. Army. She served four years in the reserves and nine years active duty, deploying twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While deployed she served as a trauma and general surgeon in far-forward arenas, once with a Forward Surgical Team and once with a Combat Support Hospital. 

Farah Husain in white coatThe experience taught her the importance of teamwork and clear communication, as well as how to improvise when things aren't going quite as planned. During her active duty time, Dr. Husain served at Madigan Army Medical Center (Tacoma, Washington), Keller Army Community Hospital (West Point, New York), and D.D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center (Augusta, Georgia). She was honorably discharged in 2010.

"The Army taught me about being flexible and ready for change and this really helps in a large health care setting," Dr. Husain said. "We have to be on our toes and looking for new opportunities. I've learned not to be scared of these moments, but rather embrace them and see it as an opportunity."

Rodney Taylor, M.S., Executive Assistant, School of Medicine, Office of the Dean

Rodney Taylor veteranRodney Taylor was a Specialist E-4 in the U.S. Army from 1988 to 1993. During this time, he was stationed in Gelnhausen, Germany from 1988 to 1991. Then his unit deployed to Desert Shield/Storm, and he spent time in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait from December 1990 to April 1991. After this, he fulfilled service in Ft. Knox, Kentucky from 1991 to 1993.

Taylor chose to go into the military to save money for college and to give himself an opportunity to grow and mature before pursuing his bachelor's degree in psychology, with an emphasis in literature, from University of Idaho. He later earned his Master of Science in Healthcare Management at OHSU. Learning to be comfortable with people from all walks of life is something he carries with him now that he works in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Rodney Taylor in office"The diversity within the military is extraordinary. I interacted with and became close to people I probably never would have met otherwise," Taylor said. "The time I spent outside of the United States instilled respect for other cultures and ways of life."

Lori Cardwell, M.D. '12 R '17, Assistant Professor of Surgery, OHSU School of Medicine, splits time between Tuality and OHSU

Dr. Lori CardwellDr. Lori Cardwell is a veteran of the United States Navy. She earned her undergraduate degree from the Naval Academy and subsequently was commissioned as a naval supply corps officer. She served seven years active duty, spending the first four years aboard ships, the USS Flint and USS Essex, and traveled the world. She completed two, six-month Western Pacific deployments and spent the remainder of her service at Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island.

As a naval officer, she led diverse and talented teams and was involved in everything from finance and ship/aircraft readiness to logistics and underway replenishments. The experience underscored the importance of teamwork and tenacity and taught her to appreciate the unique contributions of each team member.

It also opened her eyes. "The military exposed me to a breadth of cultures, beliefs and experiences, which has enriched my thinking and understanding," said Dr. Cardwell. "Witnessing suffering and oppression abroad has given me perspective and has made me grateful for America and for all that we have."

Lori Cardwell at a Tuality clinic with a patientShe added, "Thank you to all who have served and are currently serving. The sacrifices you've endured have secured our freedoms. Fair winds and following seas... and GO NAVY, BEAT ARMY!"

Photos provided by each individual.