Tinker doctor fulfills simple dream

  • Published
  • By Brandice J. Armstrong
  • Tinker Public Affairs
Editor's note: This is the eighth story in a nine-article series about military providers assigned to Tinker.

Her reason was simple. There was no hoopla or big shebang. Julie Terry just wanted to help people.

Today, she is a family physician within the 72nd Medical Operations Squadron.

"She is an excellent role model to not only female providers but to all female officers successfully managing demands of a high operations tempo job and motherhood," said Dr. (Maj.) Angela Albrecht, Family Medicine Clinic Medical director and Dr. Terry's supervisor.

Upon graduation from Western Washington University, the Seattle native headed to St. Louis University in Missouri, for medical school. It was recommended by a friend and the first medical university that accepted her.

Just before she began the first year, she looked into the Health Professional Sciences Program as a way to pay for her education. After meeting with the Air Force recruiter, she said she decided it would be an opportunity to serve her country, and signed up. Through the HPSP program, for every year the Air Force paid for Dr. (Capt.) Terry's education, she owed a year of service.

During her medical training, Dr. Terry said she quickly realized she wanted to work in preventative medicine and with men, women and children, in an out-patient setting.

"I enjoyed the creativity of medicine and science," she said. "I liked science, but didn't want to do bench research. I could've done the Ph.D. route, but I wanted to interact with people. That left only one thing -- family medicine."

Having been a doctor for more than three years and in the Air Force for the past seven years, she said her goals remain the same as when she first earned her medical degree.

Seeing approximately 90 patients a week, Dr. Terry said she has her fair share of challenges including the sheer volume of patient concerns.

"It's time consuming and everyone has unique issues and they all need to be addressed," Dr. Terry said. "Each person should feel like they're individuals, not one in a million. I try to make them all feel like they're important and give them the care they expect and deserve."

Despite the, at times, overwhelming career field, Dr. Terry said she thoroughly enjoys what she does.

"There are a lot of administrative hoops specific to the military and there's the deployment aspect, but, there's no better patient population," she said.