Face of Defense: Air Force Doctor Finds Ways to Give Back
By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar
12th Air Force
BELIZE CITY, Belize, June 3, 2014 Deployed in support of New Horizons Belize 2014, a multifaceted exercise providing training opportunities for Belizean and U.S. medical professionals, Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Forrest Jellison is finding ways to give back.
Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Forrest Jellison, a urologist, works with his surgery team during a penectomy, May 27, 2014, at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City, Belize. An Air Force surgical team deployed to Belize for two weeks during a New Horizons Belize 2014 surgical readiness training exercise. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"I've always wanted to give back in some way, because I know I'm fortunate for what I have," the urologist said. "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 graduation from Pacific Union College in Napa Valley, California, and followed his undergraduate education with medical school at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California, 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 provided some life-saving surgeries with the assistance and coordination of the nation's sole urologist and other staff at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital here.
"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.
"I like helping people," he said. "Medicine is what I do best, so this is the best way I can help."