Joseph Nagengast enlisted in the Air Force after high school and led a successful career as an airborne cryptologic linguist, electronic warfare operator, and host nation liaison. After several deployments, Joseph enrolled in an EMT program in order to better aid his comrades. H found that he had a profound interest and knack for medicine. Unfortunately, Joseph’s military career ended due to a devastating spinal cord injury that required three separate cervical spinal surgeries.
While recovering, Joseph utilized his baseline medical knowledge and medication research to work with his doctors and rehabilitation team to open an informative dialog in order to reach better recovery outcomes. Together, they were able to fine-tune his treatments and decrease the overall number of prescribed medications. These results inspired him to pursue a career in medicine and use his firsthand experiences during recovery to help others.
With the aid and support of the University of Utah’s Veterans Center, Joseph enrolled into a Pre-Medical program to finish his remaining prerequisites for medical school. His ultimate goal is to be employed as a specialized doctor (neurology or pain management) within the Veterans Administration Healthcare System to provide veterans with physician who not only can relate to their military experiences but also help them recover an active daily life the way his doctors helped him recover.