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USC Names USU Student, Resident Outstanding Alumna for 2019

group photo with 4 military women
By Sarah Marshall

A resident in Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) at the Uniformed Services University (USU) was recently recognized by her alma mater for her distinguished professional achievements and outstanding service to her community.

Army Capt. (Dr.) Alyson Kil, in her third year of residency, was named an “Outstanding Alumna” by the University of Southern California (USC), where she earned her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences in 2010. She also earned her Doctor of Medicine from USC’s Keck School of Medicine in 2014.  Kil was presented with the award during USC’s annual Women’s Conference in Washington, DC, March 14-15. 

The award is one of the university’s highest alumni honors and has been bestowed upon a small group of graduates each year since 1932 during their annual Alumni Awards gala.

Kil in front of a poster
During the 2018 Military Health System Research Symposium, USU’s Army Capt. (Dr.) Alyson Kil presents her research on infection control and prevention in East Africa. (courtesy photo)

Kil joins a number of esteemed honorees, including Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong (class of 1970), world-renowned architect Frank O. Gehry (class of 1954), and actress America Ferrera (class of 2013), among many other civic leaders and pioneers.

“This is truly an honor to represent the Army and military medicine at the USC Women's Conference this year and to be recognized as a leader in my alumnae community,” Kil said.

A native of Los Angeles, Kil earned her M.D. degree from USC through the Health Professions Scholarship Program, and entered active duty Army service following graduation.  She went on to complete her internship at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) and also served as a staff physician in the hospital’s Medical Readiness Clinic and the White House Medical Unit. She is currently the Chief Resident of the OEM program, while also working to complete her Master of Public Health at USU. 

Kil with John McCain
Army Capt. (Dr.) Alyson Kil, a resident in USU’s Occupational
and Environmental Medicine program, poses with the late Sen.
John McCain at the National Defense University Hall of Fame
Induction Ceremony in June 2017. (courtesy photo)
As part of her training at USU in the OEM residency, Kil is required to complete six to eight rotations, which are four to 12 weeks long, practicing as an occupational health professional. In addition to her clinical obligations, Kil is involved in military chemical warfare research, as well as infection control projects in East Africa, upon which she has presented at several conferences, including the annual Military Health System Research Symposium. She teaches medical and pre-medical students at WRNMMC as well, and is actively involved in supporting a number of local community organizations.

Since 2016, Kil has also been mentoring North Korean defectors, those who escaped from the authoritarian regime and settled in America in hopes of living a better life. As a third-generation Korean American, she said, she feels a personal debt to the Unites States for allowing at least half of the Korean peninsula to be a democracy, which was largely why she chose to join the Army.  She became involved in organizations that help defectors, she said, because she wanted to help those who have escaped navigate life as new American citizen. She has mentored three North Korean defectors so far, and has assisted them with college homework assignments and essay editing, and is a friend to each of them.

“I have always seen it as a privilege to serve, and to be recognized for it is humbling. I hope to empower other women in my field and to encourage the development of leadership in every individual to better serve our country and help improve the world in which we live.”

Kil will complete her residency on June 20, and will soon receive official orders for an assignment in the public health field.