ATLAS RESEARCH: Staff Profile: Dr. John Jacocks Serves Veterans Through Medical Training at Rural VA Clinics

Atlas Research issued the following announcement on Feb. 11.

It’s not surprising that retired U.S. Army physician Dr. John Jacocks has a self-described soft spot in his heart for Veterans.

Nor is it surprising that Atlas Research sought Dr. Jacocks out as part of its Veteran Engagement Plan to hire Veterans. It’s a great fit from both sides’ perspectives.

Dr. Jacocks is a United States Military Academy graduate, class of 1979. He earned his Doctor of Medicine from Tulane University in 1984 and served 24 years on active duty as an engineer, special forces, and medical corps officer.

He’s a former Army astronaut candidate who recently retired from civil service after serving for 12 years as the Senior Medical Officer at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. His job was to help keep the Department of Defense and U.S. allies safe from weapons of mass destruction.

Dr. Jacocks’ retirement didn’t stick, however. Earlier this year his friend and former Army colleague, Dr. Ryung Suh, approached him about a new job at Atlas Research. Suh, co-founder of Atlas Research and chair of the Atlas Board of Directors, envisioned Jacocks teaching medicine at rural Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical offices.

“He had me at, `Will you come?’” Dr. Jacocks said.

Focusing on Women Veterans’ Health

At Atlas as Medical Director, Dr. Jacocks travels coast to coast helping medical providers achieve advanced medical certification by providing mobile, mini-medical residencies specializing in women’s health. It’s a great fit for a Veteran like Dr. Jacocks, who has more than 30 years of experience providing direct patient care and consulting on health care system improvement, and is skilled in working with federal health agencies, military health systems, and Veteran organizations.

Since joining Atlas in August 2018, Dr. Jacocks has traveled to teach in Kansas five times, as well as Oregon, Nevada, and New York. He loves helping rural medical staff who may not get as much attention as the bigger VA offices in cities.

“I almost consider it a calling,” Dr. Jacocks said. “VA is being overwhelmed with numbers from over 15 years of war. The greatest percentage increase in Veterans is in women and the system is not as female-friendly as we’d like it to be and we’d like to fix that.”

Dr. Jacocks also loves being part of a team. It was instilled in him from his youth sports and Army days, he said. His favorite saying is an African proverb that emphasizes working together: “If you want to go fast, go alone,” Dr. Jacocks said. “If you want to go far, go together.”

Dr. Jacocks was raised in Ponca City, an Oklahoma prairie community of about 25,000 residents with wide, tree-lined streets that’s a proud recipient of the state’s 2018 “Outstanding Main Street Program of the Year” designation. The former headquarters of Conoco, Ponca City is also home to early 20th century oil baron E.W. Marland’s 55-room Italian Renaissance Villa known as the “Palace on the Prairie.”

Dr. Jacocks’ Ponca City roots and extensive U.S. and global travels – he’s a combat Veteran who deployed multiple times to Africa, Southwest and East Asia, and Central America – give him an unfair advantage over the “city folks” of his traveling team when they play one of his favorite road trip guessing games.

“I make everybody guess how big the town is and I’m head and shoulders above the city folks,” he said with a laugh.

A Servant Leader Model

Professionally, Dr. Jacocks operates under a simple operational plan: He serves.

“I am really dedicated to using God’s gifts that He has given me as far as educational and medical training to bring health to people as much as I can,” Dr. Jacocks said. “Personally, that call weaves itself into how I live my life. It’s all directed to trying to serve others. It’s actually quite simple.”

That servant leader mindset extends to his wife, Trenda Jacocks. After their two daughters were raised, she completed her seminary studies to become an ordained pastor. She currently works on projects aimed at racial reconciliation.

Dr. Jacocks is taking that simple approach of serving others to a complex mission to transform rural health at VA clinics. It’s going well already, he said: “The people in the clinics are really appreciative of this.”

Original source can be found here.

Source: Atlas Research

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