News: Global physician serves Air National Guard later in life
Story by Staff Sgt. Julie Parker
WARNER ROBINS, Ga. - The Air National Guard medical corps fields a health care team comprised of service members dedicating their life to the service and protection of others; one member brings global experience to the 116th Air Control Wing mission.
Lt. Col. Anna Likos, a part-time staff physician with the 116th Medical Group, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, also works as the director for the division of disease control and health protection for the Florida Department of Health.
The 116th ACW personnel are tasked to deploy throughout the year, and Likos’ job is to ensure each of her patients are medically able to go if and when they are called upon to do so.
According to Likos, there is a great sense of satisfaction in knowing she directly impacts the mission
“In public health, the focus is on the health of the population as a whole. Here, I get to interact with people and patients one-on-one, and I miss that [in the civilian sector],” she said.
A physician in the Air National Guard since 2000, Likos “joined the military a little later in life than most,” she said. She was 50 years old when she joined.
Likos said that her decision to join came when she attended a conference for the American Medical Surgeons of the United States.
“It was at a time when a lot of data had just come out on osteoporosis and bone densities in women, and I remember going to this one session on neurology and the neurological complications that could be created by the force of an ejection seat on the spine,” she said.
Likos said she remembered listening to the discussion and thinking, “Wow; we are going to have more women pilots.”
According to Likos, the paradigm of women in the military was changing at the time and she wanted to be a part of it.
“I grew up in a time when there was a much more conservative approach to the roles of women in society and the lines were drawn as to what women could and could not do,” Likos explained.
She recalled a conversation she had with her father, who was a doctor, when she was about nine years old asking him how she could become a doctor too.
“I remember asking him how I could become a doctor,” Likos said. “He basically told me that women shouldn’t be doctors, and I could be a nurse.”
That didn’t deter Likos.
“Looking back, I see that I was always stubborn and although I didn’t openly challenge my father, I tip-toed around medicine for years,” she said.
Likos studied biology in college and became a laboratory medical technologist. After college, Likos joined the Peace Corps and had the opportunity to work in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
She said that experience influenced her desire to work in developing countries as a doctor.
She said it was at the age of 35, while she was working on a doctorate in immunology, that she thought to herself, “You know what? I’m going to medical school.”
Likos graduated from the University Of Oklahoma College Of Medicine in 1995 and completed her internal medicine residency at Yale before finishing a second residency in Preventative Medicine at Johns Hopkins University.
Prior to her work in the Air National Guard, she worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Poxvirus Program and held several other CDC positions, including medical epidemiologist in the Influenza Branch, and a medical epidemiologist in the Global AIDS Program Office in both Haiti and Cote d’Ivoire, and in the Field Training Program in Morocco.
“Dr. Likos’ first-hand experience in international medicine, including managing diseases not seen in the U.S and working with health systems in foreign countries, helps the 116th ACW and the Georgia Air National Guard maintain readiness to deploy anywhere in the world,” said Col. Louis Perino, chief of aerospace medicine for the 116 MDG.