Kelly McCoy, MD, is a surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Â a former Navy commander who saw significant experience as a combat trauma surgeon in Iraq. Dr. McCoy gives us her thoughts,
Where are you from?
I was raised in Clarksville, Pennsylvania and spent all of my young life and early education in western PA.
Where did you go to college and what was your academic major?
I went to Washington and Jefferson College and was a Molecular Bio major.
Where did you do your medical training?
I went to med School at Hahnemann University, when it was still Hahnemann, now Drexel and did my general surgery residency at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.
Do you come from a military family?
My father was in the Air Force and I had an aunt and uncle in the Navy. My aunt, Sarah Stephenson, was one of the original Navy Waves and taught blind flying to pilots.
Why did you decide to join the service and why the Navy?
My father always had immense respect for the military and great pride for his time served. His encouragement definitely lit a spark. When the Air Force and Navy recruiters came to W and J to talk to the pre-med group my junior year, it seemed like a great idea and I couldnâ€™t be happier about the choice I made.
What were your postings in the Navy?
My initial assignment after residency training was as one of two staff general surgeons at Naval Hospital Naples, Italy. It was an amazing tour of duty. My second child was born there.
I then went to the University of Pittsburgh for fellowship training in Endocrine Surgery.
After that year, I returned to National Naval Medical Center as a staff surgeon performing both endocrine and general surgical procedures.
From there, in 2008, I was deployed with the First Marine Division from Camp Pendleton to Al Anbar Province in Iraq. In Iraq, I was in a forward fixed facility and performed strictly trauma procedures.
Have you ever been south of Equator and if so, was there any “initiation” ceremony?
Sorry, I have not. And, strangely, though I was in the Navy for 12 years, I was never assigned to a ship.
Can you comment on the recent reports of a shockingly high percentage of service women who report sexual assaults from other military personnel?
Thankfully, I canâ€™t give any first hand reports. I find the accounts shocking and sad.
Unfortunately, I can say from personal experience that there are leadership roles in the military filled by people who, in my opinion, would not hold a similar caliber position in the civilian world. When a person lacks the appropriate judgment to wield such power over others, these things unfortunately can happen.
Do you support women in combat roles?
Absolutely. Women are natural multi-taskers, problem solvers and exceptional leaders. I think many women are as mentally and physically tough as their male counterparts. I think it is ridiculous to prevent a willing and able service member who would be an asset in a combat setting from being there solely based on gender.