When I was 17 and graduating from my local Catholic high school, I was drawn to military service. I had multiple motivations - serving my country, the GI Bill for college, and challenging myself. While I understood the idea of deploying to a war, I was naive of the reality. There is no experience in my life that has shaped me more than my time in the Gulf. I am keenly aware of what veterans go through and how as a society we have a special obligation to them. As a commissioner I will support services for our returning veterans to assist with the difficult assimilation back to civilian life.
For the past 17+ years, I have been teaching undergraduate and graduate students in multiple areas of biomedical engineering. As part of that work, I received an NIH federal training grant to train engineers in the area of surgery and intervention. These grants are highly competitive and are seen as large service awards as they provide graduate students funding to explore and build their own research. Enabling opportunities like this supports tomorrow's most innovative biomedical engineers and will hopefully move the needle forward in patient care. As a county commissioner, we need to provide new training resources to allow our teachers to innovate educational paradigms.
I have spent my career investigating surgical systems to improve patient care in brain, liver, breast, and kidney cancer. This has involved managing a multi-million dollar portfolio of research grants awarded by federal institutions, private foundations, and industrial organizations. One of the surgical systems we translated to hospitals is shown in the video at the bottom of the page. Research often involves 6-10 years post-college additional training before a first position. The folks I know do this for the love of solving the problem and its contribution to society - the very definition of service. As a county commissioner, we need to provide novel educational resources to our students to enable them to globally compete in the 21st century.
I have served as a charter member of multiple review panels at the National Institutes of Health. The panels include the Bioengineering, Technology, and Surgical Sciences study section, as well as the section on Biomedical Imaging Technologies. Serving on these panels involves reviewing hundreds of grant applications per year with only a very small percentage being awarded. I often say, "Your NIH tax dollars are spent well. Winning an NIH grant is one of the most competitive processes I have ever been involved." I take the stewardship of federal resources very seriously. As county commissioner, I will also be an advocate for fair taxation policies to support new initiatives.