Dr. Robert Thaxton
Over the past few centuries five professions have been recognized to have the highest ideals;
Clergy, physicians, lawyers, military officers, and teachers. Over my career I have had the privilege to be part of four of them, physician, clergy, teacher, military officer. It has allowed me a busy and rewarding career.
I have always felt that service to others is the highest profession one can have. Some of my earliest childhood memories were examples from my mother of service to others. I didn’t decide on medicine as my main focus until my early twenties. I had just spent two years doing religious based volunteer work in Germany. It was during a basic science course that I fell in love with the anatomy and physiology of the human form. It was like a light going off. I felt the best way I could continue to have a life full of service toward others would be medicine. It was during this time that a close friend, who was in the ROTC program at my school told me about the military’s medical school, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). My wife and I had been married for over a year and we were expecting our first child. Because family is very important to us, my wife wanted to be able to stay home and raise our family. We decided to accept USUHS’s offer, join the military and begin our medical and now military career.
The military has been good to our family. It has allowed us to travel and see the world. It allowed me to explore multiple career choices. It also allowed me the opportunity to continue my focus on service toward others. And most importantly it allowed me to help serve some of the most dedicated individuals the world has produced. My three tours to Iraq and Afghanistan really solidified this concept. I was able to witness the highest form of love, people sacrificing themselves for others. I was able to be there at their bedside as their last thoughts were on the fellow squad mates and their families. They wanted me to let them know that they had no regrets and they would miss them. What a life changing and powerful experience.
Those experiences help guide me into my fourth and final profession, that of teacher. From 2006 till 2015 I had the privilege to be in the leadership of one of the largest emergency medicines residencies in the nation, the San Antonio Uniformed Services Army and Air Forces emergency medicines residency. I have had the privilege to work as an assistant to two outstanding emergency medicine residency directors. I was able to take over directorship in 2010. From my past life experiences I felt that creating fine people was vital in creating fine EM physicians. If the EM resident could see their role as medical servant and healer as important, the patient would automatically be helped.
During this entire time as military officer, physician, and teacher I have continued my role in the clergy. I am currently in the leadership of a local congregation here in San Antonio. I continue to work with multiple local groups in promoting community service for people of all ages. I have come to find out that when you are in the service of others in any type of role you will have a rewarding and fulfilling career.
I am looking forward to this new adventure of helping to bring medicine into the community. I feel our pillars are not just words but ideals to live by. I look forward to helping this become a reality.
Medical School at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda Md.
Medical Director 321 special tactic squadron
EM Medical Director, Biloxi MS
Directed Keesler field hospital during Katrina
CCATT Physician Team Leader, Afghanistan
Associate Residency Director.
EM Medical Director Air Force Theater Hospital (AFTH) Balad Iraq
EM Medical Director AFTH Bagram, Afghanistan
Chair of Ethics, Wilford Hall Med Cent 2007-2010
Chair of the SAUSHEC GME Professionalism committee
Areas of Research