In this edition of “Student Veteran Spotlight,” we sat down with Paul Gentle II from the Touro University Nevada Medical Health Sciences Program.
Which years did you serve in the military?
I received my commission as an officer on May 16, 2015, and I’m still under contract. Upon gaining acceptance into the Medical Health Sciences program here at Touro, I was granted a conditional release.
Which branch did you serve and what was your rank?
I’m a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Why did you decide to enlist?
After graduating from Cheyenne High School in North Las Vegas, I went to Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri on a basketball scholarship. While in school, I took a semester of ROTC and I loved it. It was very similar to basketball, due to the fact that we had to depend on our fellow cadets and work as a team to complete different tasks while following a chain of command. We also began every morning at 5 a.m. to do physical training, as well as share different leadership responsibilities simulating an everyday active duty battalion. The experiences I had from playing basketball to joining ROTC really elevated my character and changed me for the better.
ROTC matured me mentally. It taught me how to stay resilient through adversity, helped make me a forward thinker and prepared me for the real world. Upon commissioning, I branched Medical Service and served as a Medical Operations Officer in my unit. My primary responsibility was making sure that the unit’s medical readiness was always up to par.
I was actually supposed to deploy to Cuba before I started the MHS program, but because I received my conditional release, I did not go.
Is there any specific memory from your military experience that has always stuck with you?
My first annual training experience has always stuck with me. We went to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin where we ran operational missions and simulated potential deployment scenarios. I didn’t have a superior officer in my section at the time, but with help from other officers and non-commissioned officers, I was able to do my job extremely well. Each day, I was responsible for briefing our Brigade Commander about the medical aspect of our mission, from logistics to personnel. This wasn’t easy by any means, but referring back to what I learned in ROTC and being able to accept constructive criticism really helped me excel. By the end of my first annual training, I was awarded an Army Achievement Medal (AAM) for my contributions to the mission. That award and experience is one that I’ll never forget it.
Why did you want to attend Touro University Nevada?
I’ve had my eye on Touro’s MHS program for a while because I knew it would not only improve my medical school application, but give me the chance to prove that I could handle a rigorous professional school curriculum. I also knew that I wanted to stay in Las Vegas to complete my graduate studies, which made Touro even more appealing.
What are your plans after finishing the MHS program?
After MHS, I want to apply to the DO program and eventually serve as a military physician. After all the military has done for me, I feel that it is only right I use the knowledge and skillsets I gain from both programs to heal soldiers and provide care for their families.
After I fulfill my Army commitment, I want to come back to Las Vegas and establish a practice here. Of all the places I’ve visited and lived, Southern Nevada is where I want to be. We have a doctor shortage here, and I want to be one of the top doctors to help my community. I also want to be an influence to the youth in my area. I want them to see that there is nothing you can’t achieve if you put your mind to it and stay focused, while also helping them realize that you can use sports as a tool to help you succeed in other aspects of life.
How do you think your military experience will help you become a great health care provider?
My military experience has prepared me for this profession because in the Army, you’re going to be faced with adversity almost everyday, whether it be on a deployment, or being the leader of a platoon and handling the responsibilities that come with it. You have to adapt to your environment, maintain an analytical mindset, lead others, be selfless, and never lose site of see the bigger picture. These are just some of the qualities the military has instilled in me and I know later on will help me with the challenging, yet rewarding, career as a healthcare provider.