News: Naval Officer’s Vast Range of experiences bring expertise, knowledge to MMU
Story by Cpl. Clay Beyersdorfer
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – The word “experience” is an understatement for Commander Josh Tobin when describing his career as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy.
As the department head of anesthesia and medical care at the NATO Role 3 Multi-National Medical Unit hospital, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Tobin oversees a team of six anesthesiologists who provide the post-operative care of trauma care patients.
His work in Afghanistan is just a culmination of years of study and working in different roles throughout his medical career.
As a Naval reservist, Tobin works as an assistant professor in the department of anesthesiology and critical care at the University of California- Los Angeles, as well as specializing in critical care medicine at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
There he is able to research, study and teach the very things he practices while deployed to Afghanistan, with the goal of improving overall trauma care.
“I am very fortunate to be able to see both sides, civilian and military, of the treatment of patients and critical care,” Tobin said. “The lessons we are learning from war-time medicine will definitely help the overall improvement of trauma care on the civilian side.”
When he is not at UCLA, Tobin is the diver medical officer for U.S. Navy SEAL Team 17; a role he says is an “honor.”
“Basically my job is taking care of diver fitness, making sure those guys are medically ready at all times,” he said. “It truly is an honor to work for them; I take a lot of pride in it.”
His work with special operations personnel dates back to his days in the U.S. Air Force, where he served for seven years before switching to the Navy in 2010.
In addition to working with SPECOPS, Tobin served two tours overseas with the Air Force – one to the Philippines in 2007 and once before to Afghanistan in 2010.
He talked about both of those tours of duty in relation to his current deployment to Afghanistan.
“In the Philippines I worked with the medical civil action program, and it was great because you really got to interact with the local people, giving clinical aid to those who really needed it,” Tobin said. “Back when I was in (Afghanistan) in 2010, I worked with the critical care air transport team, dealing with the aeromedical evacuation of casualties. So I have been able to see first hand how far we have come since then in relation to trauma and patient care, and it is quite phenomenal.”
With all of the experience and knowledge gained from previous assignments, Tobin considers himself a “lucky guy.”
“I am very fortunate for what I have been able to do and the experiences I have gained,” Tobin said. “Even being here, I work with a team of great people, and we have done some amazing work since we have set foot on ground.”
He also talked about the correlation between jobs, and how they help each other from lessons and knowledge gained.
“One hand washes the other definitely,” Tobin said, when discussing his variety of jobs. “Each assignment helps the other in some way, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the great opportunities I have had.”
Tobin hopes to use the experiences he has gained, both as a civilian and military doctor, to further the field of anesthesiology and critical care.
“Advances in medicine have always been at the end of war,” he said. “I am just happy to be a part of that change, and I really think you will see the field of casualty and critical care expand and advance in the future.”
This work, Naval Officer’s Vast Range of experiences bring expertise, knowledge to MMU, by SGT Clay Beyersdorfer, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.