Serving in so many ways
By Per Peterson
Anders (AJ) Davidson developed a love of science at a young age. That, combined with a passion for helping others, has led the 2004 Tracy Area High School graduate to a fulfilling career in the both the military and medical fields.
“There are a lot of great careers in medicine where compassionate people are able to help others, but I felt becoming a physician was a field where I could combine my love of science and investigation while bringing those skills to the bedside,” Davidson said. “I wanted to be in a position where I was able to influence and advance the field that I practice in. For me that led me to become a surgeon-scientist.”
Davidson is the current senior fellow of Vascular Surgery at University of Michigan and he continues to serve on active duty with the U.S. Air Force as a major. He completed a Master’s of Science in Military Operational Art and has received a number of grants, awards and decorations for his research into battlefield injury. During his fellowship, he hopes to further develop an advanced vascular skill set in both open and endovascular surgeries and to bring those lessons to the battlefield. He also has a strong interest in teaching and graduate medical education.
“The thing I am the most proud of during my time in the military is receiving a problem from the field, figuring out a potential solution, feeding it back to those in the battlefield and hearing that it worked and saved a life,” he said.
Family has played a major role in shaping Davidson and his career path. His parents were at one time volunteer EMTs in Balaton and his father was also a volunteer firefighter. Their work, he said, inspired him to immerse himself in the medical field in some way.
“They would frequently tell me stories of their calls, and clearly these were very meaningful to them,” he said. “I knew I wanted to be in a job where I could help people through difficult times, and medicine seemed to be a great avenue to do that.”
Family also played a role in Davidson’s military life. All four of his great-grandfathers served in World War I and both of his grandfathers served in the second World War.
“One of my grandfathers lived in Canby, and he practically raised me — while my parents worked he took care of me,” Davidson said. “He was a very proud veteran and instilled many of those sentiments into me. I was his only grandchild, and he was very proud of me. He felt that my talents in science and medicine could best be used on the battlefield.”
With that, Davidson joined the Air Force as a senior in college and accepted a health professions scholarship and was commissioned as a second lieutenant.
“So ultimately it was my grandfather, parents, and love of science that led me here,” he said.
See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.