Major General Philip Volpe Commanding general of the U.S. Army’s Western Regional Medical Command
Class Of: 1983
Campus: Old Westbury Major: Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
A Tall Order
Philip’s duties include governing and operating all the Army’s medical treatment facilities, hospitals, medical centers, and clinics at military installations throughout 20 western U.S. states. He ensures the readiness of U.S. forces for deployment and oversees health care services to family members and retirees who live on and around Army bases. “The biggest challenge is keeping up with all of our services with an army at war. Our soldiers deploy all over the world, and I help make sure they are receiving the best health care possible.”
Philip’s tours of duty sent him to Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. In 1989, he served with the Second Ranger Battalion as part of Operation: Just Cause, and four years later was part of an Army Ranger special ops task force in Somalia.
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Huntington, N.Y., Philip’s childhood heroes were comic book superheroes and later astronauts as he followed NASA’s space programs in the 1960s and 1970s. “Looking back, even though I didn’t know it at the time, my biggest heroes were my parents, simply because of their dedication and work ethic.”
Philip joined the Army during his first year at NYIT’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. “I joined just to get money for school. After graduation, I was obligated to serve four years.” It was then that Philip found his true calling. “The decision to remain in the military didn’t happen until I experienced army life, to realize the privilege of serving the greatest patients in the world—the men and women who are sacrificing themselves so we can enjoy our freedoms. I couldn’t think of a more noble way to use my medical skills.”
Philip’s approach to health care combines the science of healing and what he calls the “art of delivering medicine.” Health care professionals, he says, are a symbol of compassion and humanity. “How we deliver health care services and interact with patients is just as important as the care we are delivering.”
Trained By the Best to Be the Best
Philip attributes his career success to the nurturing lessons of his professors who were “concerned, caring teachers in and out of the classroom. They knew how to inspire students to reach their potential.”
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