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NEWS | June 18, 2014

Deployed local Air Force doctor finds ways to give back

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar 12th Air Force Public Affairs

Deployed in support of New Horizons Belize 2014, a multifaceted exercise providing training opportunities for Belizean and U.S. medical professionals, an Air Force urologist is finding ways to give back.

For Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Forrest Jellison, who is assigned to the 959th Medical Group at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, it's all about giving back.

"I know I'm fortunate for what I have. I believe you have to give back to be able to have something worthwhile."

Following a number of family members into the military, Jellison said he considered enlisting before deciding on a career path that would take him to places he never anticipated going in uniform.

He graduated from Pacific Union College in Napa Valley, Calif., and followed his undergraduate education with medical school at California's Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he also completed his residency. Jellison then completed a urology fellowship at the University of California-Los Angeles. He was commissioned in 2001.

After years of schooling, learning, teaching and traveling, Jellison deployed in support of New Horizons. Along with a urology and surgery team, he performed some life-saving surgeries with the assistance and coordination of the nation's sole urologist and other staff at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize.

"I'm very fortunate that this is part of my job," Jellison said. "This is something that I do and want to continue doing outside of where I'm tasked to go in the military."

Jellison has previously traveled on his own dime and his own time - to Honduras once and Mexico more than a handful of times - for humanitarian missions.

In addition to humanitarian missions with his church, Jellison is afforded the opportunity to operate and train in an environment with fellow Air Force urologists, as well as offer a valuable training opportunity to a fourth-year urology resident.

"We've seen some complex issues and developed treatment plans with the urologist here," he said. "Every country is different, so adapting to what we have available has been a valuable training opportunity."

Overall, Jellison said, he is just glad to help.

"Medicine is what I do best, so this is the best way I can help."