Master of Public Health Student
Don Lucas’ interest in health care was born in the mountains. It was in the Ecuadorian Andes during an undergraduate development studies program that he was profoundly changed by others’ suffering in “a beautiful but often desperate place.” He then spent summers during college in the Rocky Mountains working as a backpacking guide, ski patroller and wilderness medic with the Philmont Scout Ranch. “It was here that I found my calling in the immediacy and connectedness of treating individual patients,” says Lucas. At Philmont, he directed a summer leadership program for military cadets and midshipmen, a job that led eventually to a Navy scholarship and medical school. Ultimately, Lucas became a general surgery resident at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he encountered “a seemingly unending stream” of young soldiers who were injured while fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was shocked by the severity of the wounds and volume of wounded.
“Surgery lags behind other medical specialties in incorporating evidence-based medicine,” says Lucas, whose interest in surgical outcomes research has led him to obtain the epidemiological and biostatistical skills needed to help patients benefit from evidence-based surgery.