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NEWS | Nov. 19, 2018

Military docs care to keep serving as civilians

By AMY GUCKEEN TOLSON Assistant editor amy.tolson@theredstonerocket.com

With such a high concentration of veterans in the Rocket City, it’s not necessarily hard to find a man or woman who has served in the military, but at Tennessee Valley Pain Consultants, it’s especially easy – three of the five doctors who specialize in anesthesiology and pain management have spent time in uniform, in three different branches of service.

“It is an exceptional privilege to be a part of a center with physicians who have served our country,” said Jacqueline Makowski with Tennessee Valley Pain Consultants. “We have a tremendous team who focus on excellence in patient care and provide non-surgical pain relief to patients across the Tennessee Valley. The values instilled while in service clearly transcend into medicine. The military and health care industry share a uniquely similar mission – to serve others.”

While they may have chosen different branches – Gantt chose the Navy, Roberts the Air Force – both were motivated by uncles who had served, as well as the opportunity for financial assistance with medical school. Gantt received his medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham, Roberts at University Medical Center in Mississippi.

Throughout his time in the Navy, Gantt served as assistant professor at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in addition to time on the hospital ship Comfort, which deployed to Haiti in the mid-1990s. In addition to coordinating anesthesia care for cases, such as gunshot wounds, a lot of time on the ship was spent going through drills.

“We had to be prepared for any eventuality,” Gantt said.

While in the Air Force, Roberts served as a State Department liaison on two missions – one to Honduras, another to Peru – which not only provided medical care to those in need in those countries, but also allowed the Air Force to test out its equipment in austere environments. Roberts also served as a staff anesthesiologist, director of acute pain services and director of the Pain Center at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi.

“I enjoy seeing the veterans, active duty and dependents here,” Roberts said. “It hearkens me back to having my own clinic in the Air Force.”

Summarizing their military careers, both doctors enjoyed the people they worked with.

“They were patriotic and they had a sense of purpose, a sense of duty,” Roberts said. “They were results-oriented.”

Dr. Ronald Collins, also with Tennessee Valley Pain Consultants, spent 11 years in the Army Reserve from 1989 to 2001.

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