Face of Defense: Air Force Doctor Meets Oprah
By Linda Frost
59th Medical Wing Public Affairs
LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas, May 24, 2011 Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Van Adamson said he never imagined that he’d appear on Oprah Winfrey’s television talk show -- but he has.
Cardiologists Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Van Adamson (right) and Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Kenneth Leclerc review a patient's records May 20, 2011, at the Brooke Army Medical Center’s cardiology clinic at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. Adamson received a scholarship to Morehouse College, Atlanta, Ga., in 1998, through the Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarship program. He was interviewed about the scholarship for one of Winfrey’s final television shows. U.S. Army photo by Dwayne Snader
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
In her second-to-last episode today, talk show host Winfrey highlighted her charity efforts over the years. Adamson appeared along with about 300 other Morehouse College scholarship recipients.
In 1998, Oprah made a dream come true for Adamson, who was raised in Spartanburg, S.C. As a recipient of an Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarship, he was able to complete his undergraduate degree at Morehouse College, a private, historically black, all-male college in Atlanta, Ga.
Adamson, a cardiology fellow assigned to the 59th Medical Wing here was also one of five individuals selected by the producer to appear in a short interview segment to speak about how the scholarship has impacted his life.
"It was amazing to me that Oprah cared enough about me as an individual, someone she didn't know, to help me get through school and accomplish my dreams, and it was absolutely amazing that I had the chance to meet her in person and tell her thank you," said Adamson, who currently rotates duties between Wilford Hall and Brooke Army medical centers.
Morehouse College is known for its outstanding graduates in the fields of education, politics, business, religion, science, medicine, dentistry, law and more.
"Oprah's scholarship gave me an opportunity to continue my education and attain my goals and head to medical school," Adamson said. "Honestly, if I had not received that scholarship, I would not have been able to go back to school my sophomore year."
Adamson said he was caught by surprise when the Oprah show's producer contacted his father.
"First, I didn't believe my dad, and then I called and they wanted to interview me to discuss my accomplishments since graduation," he said.
Adamson completed his internal medicine residency at Langley Air Force Base, Va., prior to entering the fellowship program at Wilford Hall. He served for six months at the Air Force Theater Hospital in Balad, Iraq, where he stabilized battle-wounded soldiers.
"(Appearing on the Oprah show) was very exciting," he said. "Rehearsal for the taping started at 4:30 a.m. and took six hours. Everything had to be done with precision. I also had the opportunity to meet Tyler Perry, black author and playwright. It definitely will be a star-studded show."