2022 Top Ten Roundup: A USU Year-in-Review

A collage of members of the USU community with the text 2022 Top Ten Roundup: A USU Year in Review

By USU External Affairs

2022 marked the Uniformed Services University's (USU) 50th anniversary, and the past year exemplified all that USU has to offer. Students saved lives, responded to real-life mass casualties, and helped evacuees — all while continuing to realize their dreams of becoming world-class healthcare professionals; the selection of Dr. Jonathan Woodson as the newest president signified a bold move forward into fresh goals; the University maintained status as a hub for military medical research, especially in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university draws the best and brightest from around the world and as the institution prepares for a new year, The Pulse took a look back at its top 10 stories of 2022, celebrating the many accomplishments of USU’s students, faculty, alumni and staff.

Dr. Anthony Fauci delivers the annual David Packard Lecture, Apr. 11, 2022. (Photo credit: Tom Balfour, USU)

10. Dr. Anthony Fauci talks to USU students, faculty about COVID-19’s future

There is likely no end to COVID-19, but there is hope to get the virus to a level that does not disrupt society, returning life to something resembling a pre-pandemic normal, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the President of the United States. 

Fauci, current director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) at the U.S. National Institutes for Health, visited the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) as the speaker of the faculty senate-sponsored 2022 David Packard Lecture on April 11 in front of a crowd consisting largely of the military’s future healthcare providers, faculty, and researchers.

Fauci spoke about the current state of the virus, research... Read more



9. USU Psychology Student Realizes 7-year Dream of Becoming Military Officer

Army 1st Lt. Ciera Nicholson doesn’t know the meaning of quit. 

For seven years, she worked to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges to see her lifelong dream come true — serving in the United States military.  Today, Nicholson is a second-year student at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) in the Medical and Clinical Psychology (MPS) program after almost a decade of trying, and proving the age-old adage “slow and steady wins the race”. Read more



As a Brig. Gen. and deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Reserve's 3rd Medical Command, Dr. Jonathan Woodson visited U.S. Army Africa's medical readiness training exercise in Accra, Ghana, Aug. 2, 2018. (Photo credit: Capt. James Sheehan, U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa. Courtesy of DVIDSHub)

8. Dr. Jonathan Woodson Selected to Lead USU

Dr. Jonathan Woodson, a vascular surgeon and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASD(HA)), will lead the nation’s only federal health sciences university – the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) – as its new President. Woodson was selected by the Secretary of Defense following a nationwide academic search. The announcement was made June 2, 2022, by Ms. Seileen Mullen, the acting ASD(HA).

“The depth and breadth of Dr. Woodson’s more than 30 years of experience will be a major asset to the University and the Military Health System (MHS). He led the MHS through major change, including overseeing the standup of the Defense Health Agency, along with other major initiatives. I am confident that he will continue the University’s long history of excellence and leadership in military medicine,” said Mullen. Read more



Alexius Russell stands for her EMDP2 Commissioning

7. Fortitude and Resilience: The Journey of Alexius Russell

Navy Ensign Alexius Russell stands determined, steadfast, and motivated in making her dreams come true. Russell believes in not being defined by life’s circumstances and has fiercely embraced the inspiring words of poet Maya Angelou into her life path: “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”  Russell, a first-year medical student at USU, is a tough, positive force, although things have never come easy for her. 

Throughout her life, Russell experienced mental, physical, and emotional abuse, as well as homelessness, often resorting to sleeping in stalls or couch surfing. Despite barely being able to afford the bus fare to get to school, she persevered. 

“My goal of becoming a physician has never changed," Russell insists... Read more



A group of people in military uniforms practice military medical skills at a mass casualty field exercise.

6. USU Graduate Applies Medical School Lessons to Real-Life Mass Casualty Scene

Air Force Capt. (Dr.) Austin MacDonald was headed to the Texas coast for a two-day beach getaway with friends. MacDonald, who had just come off some tough shifts at Brooke Army Medical Center where he is a first-year emergency medicine resident, had just fallen asleep in the backseat of his car next to their eight-month-old daughter while his wife, Natalie, drove. The couple was looking forward to introducing their baby to the beach, and Austin, a recent Uniformed Services University (USU) medical school graduate, was hoping to have some time to just turn off his brain and rest. In fact, he was so eager to hit the beach that he was already dressed in his swim trunks and flip flops.  

In the middle of nowhere, they came upon an accident scene. Read more



Maj. Gen. Telita Crosland, the U. S. Army Deputy Surgeon General, visited the 380th Expeditionary Medical Group, May 16, 2022 at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. The intent of Crosland’s visit was to assess the progress of the joint, multi-national Trauma, Burn and Rehabilitative Medicine program. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

5. USU Alumna Announced as New Director of the Defense Health Agency

Crosland, a graduate of the Uniformed Services University's (USU) class of 1993, was selected for promotion to Lieutenant General, Medical Corps, U.S. Army, and the nomination confirmed by the Senate on Sept. 29th.  

In addition to USU, Crosland is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. She holds a Doctorate of Medicine, as well as a Master of Public Health from USU, and a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the Eisenhower School. Read more



Women figure skating. Caption: Army 2nd Lt. Ava Dimmick, a world-class synchronized ice skater, is a member of the Hebert School of Medicine class of 2026 at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU).  (Photo credit: Army 2nd Lt. Ava Dimmick and  KR Photos)

4. World Champion Figure Skater Applies Her Competitive Edge to Medical Career

World-class figure skater Ava Dimmick traded in her skates for a stethoscope earlier this month as she started medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences’ (USU) H├ębert School of Medicine.  

The newly-commissioned Army second lieutenant exudes excitement and passion about the new challenge and opportunity for teamwork with fellow classmates. For Dimmick, USU represents the logical next step to give back and help others as a military doctor after years of representing the United States on an international stage.

“I’ve always been interested in medicine… (this is) the next level of representing our country and giving back to it — it was kind of a perfect blend,” Dimmick says. Read more


Air Force 2nd Lt. Kristen Bishop stands in uniform with a plane in the background behind her.

3. USU Medical Student Called to Work as Translator for Afghan Evacuees

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) medical school student Air Force 2nd Lt. Kristen Bishop was doing clinical rotations at the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth when she was asked to change her rotations to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for a special side assignment.  

In late August 2021, efforts began to airlift nearly 130,000 people out of Afghanistan as part of the U.S. forces drawdown. The operation was among the largest mass evacuation of noncombatants in U.S. history.  It wasn’t long before evacuees arrived at Walter Reed... Read more



Army veterinarians Lt. Col. Luis Lugo, Lt. Col. Krinon Moccia, and retired Army Master Sgt. Michael Junio, visit Oscar Sanchez in the hospital. The trio saved Sanchez’s life after his throat was slashed in a random attack in Louisville, Ky., on Oct. 24, 2022.  (Photo courtesy of Oscar Sanchez)

2. Slashing Victim’s Life Saved by USU Alumni, Staff

Army Lt. Col. Luis Lugo and retired Army Master Sergeant Michael Junio were unwinding with friends after wrapping up the day’s sessions at the annual American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, Oct. 24 when they heard a cry for help.

Along with former USU colleagues and graduates Lt. Col. Krinon Moccia from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, retired Army Col. Bryan Ketzenberger from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, retired Army Col. Larry Shelton from University of Maryland, and several others, Lugo and Junio were approached at Fourth Street Live!, a dining and entertainment hub in the heart of downtown Louisville, by a panicked man holding his neck, his hands covered in blood, repeating “Please help me! Help me!” Read more





USU Senior Enlisted Leader Navy Master Chief Hospital Corpsman Michael Jimenez (left) stands at attention as newly-enlisted Army combat medic Sgt. Grover (center) renders a salute to USU Brigade Commander Army Col. Patrick Donahue (right).  Sgt. Grover is USU’s newest Facility dog.  (Photo by MC3 Brooks Smith, USN)

1. Army Sgt. Grover Reports for Duty as USU's Newest Facility Dog

The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) facility dog program is expanding with the addition of an enthusiastic two-year-old Labrador retriever named Grover.   

Grover officially reported for duty at USU during an enlistment ceremony on campus Feb. 28, where he was made an Army sergeant and combat medic in honor of the role and contributions of enlisted personnel at the university.

Grover joins the university’s current facility dog Shetland, a Golden Labrador retriever mix, who began as the school’s first facility dog in 2019. Brigade Commander Army Col. Patrick Donahue says bringing a second facility dog to the school came about because Shetland far exceeded the university’s expectations.

“We wanted to build upon his positive impact as well as our ability to continue to teach our students the valuable role these animals have in supporting individuals, and our military medical community as a whole,” Donahue says... Read more