US Air Force doctor finds ways to 'give back'
By Tech. Sgt. Kali Gradishar, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)
/ Published June 04, 2014
BELIZE CITY, Belize -- Deployed in support of New Horizons Belize 2014, a multi-faceted exercise providing training opportunities for Belizean and U.S. medical professionals, U.S. Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Forrest Jellison is finding ways to give back.
"I've always wanted to give back in some way because I know I'm fortunate for what I have," said the urologist. "I believe you have to give back to be able to have something worthwhile."
Following a number of family members into the military, Jellison considered enlisting in the military before decided 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, Calif., 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 commissioned in 2001, officially kicking off his career in the Air Force.
After years of schooling, learning, teaching and traveling, Jellison deployed in support of New Horizons.
Jellison, along with a urology and surgery team, 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 in Belize City, Belize.
"I'm very fortunate that this is part of my job," said Jellison. "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.
Alternative to humanitarian missions with his church, Jellison is afforded the opportunity to operate and train in an environment with fellow U.S. 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 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."