Desire to help the underserved lures former Army officer to public health

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Serving more than a dozen years as a U.S. Army medical operations officer was a rich and worthwhile experience for Martin Reidy. He had three tours in Iraq under his belt and his wife, a military doctor, also served in Iraq. As a self-described “jack-of-all-trades,” Reidy carried out medical plans and operations supporting humanitarian and combat missions. His duties included deploying medics to treat casualties, sending helicopters and ambulances to evacuate the wounded, and running a mental health campaign for returning soldiers.

However Reidy felt something was missing. In 2011, he left full-time military service and enrolled as a master degree of science student in Society, Human Development and Health at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). On May 30, 2013, he was among the HSPH students receiving degrees at Commencement exercises.

“I enjoyed my time in the military but I wanted to serve the poor and underserved. I want to give back to more than just those affiliated with the service,” said Reidy, who is in the Army Reserves. After considering becoming a doctor or social worker, he chose to pursue a career in public health. “I was drawn to public health by my interest in social inequalities,” he said.