Ensign Brett Flaherty (furthest to the left), 3rd year medical student at the Uniformed Services University, and her classmates stand proudly aboard the USNS Mercy.

I am Navy Medicine: ENS Brett Flaherty

“I am Ensign Brett Flaherty, a third year medical student at the Uniformed Services University (USU).”

Flaherty was one of only six United States Naval Academy (USNA) class of 2017 graduates to join the USU School of Medicine class of 2021. Current Navy regulations cap the maximum number of combined Medical and Dental Corps billets for graduating USNA midshipmen at 15, making this a particularly notable accomplishment 

“Growing up, I had always been interested in medicine and while I was at the Naval Academy, I realized that Navy Medicine was the community in which I saw myself pursuing my career as an officer. I had the privilege of doing multiple summer trainings with the medical community which allowed me to see the global presence and mission of Navy Medicine and the full scope of training available within our MTFs.”

She gravitated to USU because of the culture of comradery and serving a common goal that defined her experience at the Naval Academy and fortified her initial motivation to pursue a career in the Navy.

“I have found the environment at USU to be very collaborative and diverse which has been a great learning opportunity beyond the bounds of our defined medical education,” said Flaherty. “We have a myriad of backgrounds including prior medics, corpsmen, aviators, SWOs, marines, teacher, musicians, researchers, and many other professions from all three branches that bring their unique experiences, personalities and leadership to our school.”

Flaherty, like many others, has been fortunate enough to meet several USU alumni during her third year TDY rotations. She said, “ I not only got to know classmates of mine better while traveling to distant sites, I also met dozens of doctors who started their training at USU and were super excited to teach and mentor the next generation to come through.”

Although currently undecided on her future residency choice, Flaherty is hopeful to serve as a General Medical Officer (GMO) for a few years following her intern year to get out to the fleet and start putting the leadership and medical training she has gained to work. She believes her GMO years will be an invaluable experience and said, “I hope to take the lessons I learn back with me to my residency training and subsequent duty stations to be a leader and force for positive change in our community.”

When asked to sum up her experience in Navy Medicine, Flaherty said, “It is very inspiring to be surrounded by such talented, motivated and compassionate people both in my class and in the doctors that facilitate our curriculum and guide us through their mentorship.”