Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Psychiatrist Makes Surprising—and Dangerous—Career Change

Age barriers have fallen in several areas in recent years, but some realms remain stubbornly the province of the young—or do they? One psychiatrist has taken a dramatic step to defuse the myth that the military is one of those areas where only the young are welcome to join. Rebecca Tomsyck, M.D., was in private practice in Charlotte, N.C., when at age 53 she decided to join the U.S. Army. She said she felt a call to serve her country, plus her husband expressed a desire to live overseas. She worked out an agreement with the Army to enter at the rank of lieutenant colonel and be assigned to a post in Germany. In 2007 she was sent to Iraq where she worked with a combat stress unit. In 2010, she was assigned to an Air Force base in Afghanistan where she treated mental health problems in service members from all branches. Then, last summer, now a full colonel, Tomsyck was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in Afghanistan.

To read much more about Tomsyck's mid-life career shift and her experiences in both Iraq and Afghanistan, see Psychiatric News.

(Photo: Rebecca Tomsyck, M.D.) 


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