Three graduates of the Uniformed Services University (USU) of the Health Sciences embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) were selected for their top residency choices while underway in the Pacific Ocean, Dec. 18.
Lt. Marilyn Kimbrough, Ens. Danielle Cain and Lt. Shaun Williams are currently serving their year-long operational tour within Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and were all selected for residency at their top choice of orders within the Navy.
Kimbrough, a San Diego native assigned to the “Vikings” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 225 said, “I love working with the Marines and being around their motivation. I’ve experienced so much practicing medicine aboard a ship, where the medical decision-making is a lot different.”
Kimbrough says she joined the Navy because of the educational opportunities at USU. Her motivation came from the simple fact that it is all one team, one fight. Kimbrough was selected for her preferred specialty, pediatrics.
“I felt the need to be there for the kids, even though it can be one of the more sad and stressful environments,” said Kimbrough. “These children haven’t done anything to deserve these diseases or life-changing accidents, and I want to be the one that gives them a long life to live.”
From hospital corpsman to physician in the Navy, Cain, a native of Livonia, Michigan, began her career with an enlistment in 2014. She realized that medicine was her home, and it grew into a passion that pushed her to take an oath as a naval officer through the Enlisted to Medical Degree Preparatory Program.
An announcement almost a decade in the making, Cain was thrilled to learn that she matched into family medicine at the A.T. Augusta Military Medical Center at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
“I’m beyond ecstatic to match with my top choice during this amazing experience,” said Cain, who is currently on orders to Boxer. “In medical school, you experience all of the core specialties. When I rotated into family medicine, I fell in love with the people and the scope of the practice. You’ll get to know your patients on a personal level.”
Joining the medical field wasn’t always in the cards for Williams, a native of Yona, Guam. His journey began in 2007 when he enlisted in the Navy as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate. While serving, he felt a desire to attend medical school, but didn’t act upon it until he was a first class petty officer. He realized his calling was in medicine while volunteering weekly at a local hospital. Taking a chance, Williams and his family jointly decided he should apply and enroll in medical school.
“I felt more gratified helping people versus making aircraft fly,” said Williams. “It’s a completely different environment from the last time I was on a ship as an AE. Now, I’m back with the people I grew up with and taking care of them with the knowledge I know from being an enlisted Sailor.”
Williams received his first choice for a specialty and will be attending anesthesiology at Naval Medical Center San Diego to start his training.
“I’m a problem solver, so anesthesiology was the perfect choice for me,” said Williams. “It was reassuring to be able to stay here [San Diego] with my family and train in the specialty we wanted. My family was extremely excited to hear the news. They’ve been through this whole journey with me.”
The specialty changes the course of a doctor’s life, solidifying their career path. For the three physicians onboard Boxer, it was exciting news as each was selected for their top choice.
“Outside of being selected to medical school, the match is the next major milestone in a physician’s career path,” said Boxer Senior Medical Officer Lt. Cmdr. Paul Flood. “This is where you are selected to the program that will train you into the type of physician you will be for the rest of your career. Often this is where physicians wind up living [and] working for the rest of their careers as a civilian; however, in the military we have opportunity to train and work across the country. All three are deserving of their selections and I look forward to working with them again in the fleet and at an MTF [military treatment facility].”
Cain’s residency in particular is one that Flood knows well.
“It is especially rewarding for to see another selected to my alma mater of Ft. Belvoir to become a Family Physician, and I wish Ens. Cain luck in her next three years as she works to become a board-certified Family Physician,” added Flood, who completed a Family Physician residency in 2017.
After completing their year-long operational tour, Kimbrough, Cain and Williams will be attending their residencies in pediatrics, family medicine and anesthesiology, respectively, and continuing to serve Sailors and Marines in the medical field they love.
The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, comprised of Boxer, USS Somerset (LPD 25), and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49), and the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit are underway conducting integrated training and routine operations in U.S. 3rd Fleet.
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