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Teaching public health policy in the military

Meet Tiara Walz, an active-duty major with the United States Army and a graduate student studying health policy in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

Tiara Walz

By Alexis Croisdale

Who better to meet the health needs of soldiers than a soldier herself? Meet Tiara Walz, an active-duty major with the United States Army and a graduate student studying health policy in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.  

As a medical service corps officer, Tiara is working toward a PhD paid for by the Army’s Long-Term Health and Education Training program. Her funding comes with an expectation that she finishes her doctorate in three years.  

The timeline is rigorous but comes with the guarantee that Tiara will continue her Army service as an assistant professor at Army Baylor (AB), a satellite of Baylor University located at Fort Sam in Houston, Texas, upon graduation. 

“You can do so many diverse things once you have a doctorate, and I want to go into teaching,” she says.  

Tiara will teach health and policy subjects to her peers with similar and sometimes more real-world experience than her. With this in mind, Tiara will also leave Oregon State University with a graduate certificate in College and University Teaching. 

Tiara’s research interests include improving long-term health for active-duty service members and veterans. She’s particularly interested in perceived stress and how vulnerable populations’ stress may impact their pain levels. 

“I think I have a unique perspective compared to a lot of other researchers because I am still in the military as a health care administrator,” she says. “Being able to understand health policy and how it works is very important to make good strides in health care, change regulations and help really take better care of patients.”  

For others pursuing a doctorate, Tiara recommends being open-minded and flexible.  

“You deserve to be here. Be confident that you were selected to pursue this and to try not to stress out too much when things don’t go the way you thought they would. Be flexible and kind and relax,” she says.