Maj. Gen. Valope speaks to KCUMB students about military experience


Military life and healthcare. Maj. Gen. Philip Volpe discusses his experience in the military and as the command surgeon of the Black Hawk Down incident in Somalia in 1993 with KCUMB students during lunch on Thursday, April 3. Later that day, Volpe gave a presentation on his military experiences. Joe Jarosz

Northeast News
April 9, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Bloom where you’re planted.

His audience may have been mostly military students, but his message was universal.

Last Thursday, Major General Philip Volpe, D.O., U. S. Army (retired) spoke to osteopathic military medical students at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Bioscience to discuss his time as the command surgeon for the Black Hawk Down incident in Somalia in 1993. The students participate in the Health Professions Scholarship Program and in exchange for service as a commissioned medical department officer, upon completion of a medical degree, HPSP pays for the students’ medical education.

“The lecture is about my experiences with the Ranger Task Force,” Volpe said.

The highly decorated officer spoke about his experiences in military medicine, having served on relief efforts during Hurricanes Andrew and Fran. Volpe also served on the Joint Surgeons Operations Task Force in Haiti and most recently served as the commanding general at the Army Medical Department Center and School in San Antonio before retiring on June 1, 2013.

Before his presentation, he joined about 25 students for lunch for a more personal, informal question and answer session. The questions from students ranged from changing military medical policy to selecting which area of medicine to practice under. Since he retired, Volpe said he’s taken on more speaking engagements such as the one at KCUMB. When he speaks to students or those just beginning their military medical career, his general message is to remind those listening they’re about to embark on an exciting adventures.

“Worry about what you can control,” Volpe told the students. “There’s a role for everybody.”

Volpe reiterated to the students that if they know what kind of medicine they want to practice, don’t delay it and just go for it. He said everyone’s practice and profession has ups and downs, just like in life. But it’s important to overcome the adversity.

“Bloom where you’re planted,” Volpe said. “Things won’t always work out how you like. You could either be negative about it or see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Volpe explained he learned just as much from places and situation he didn’t want to be in from the others where he wanted to be.


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