From dress blues to a white coat
By Alex Branch
U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Zovath served his country for four years before he returned home to Houston and started his transition to civilian life.
A veteran who served two tours in Iraq, he wanted a career with a sense of service.
He found it while visiting a family friend who worked at Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston, where Zovath met some of the physicians in the burn unit.
“I watched the doctors go on rounds and do surgeries,” he said. “I saw the compassion that those doctors had for their patients. And I realized that I could see myself doing that.’”
He had never heard of osteopathic medicine when he considered applying to the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. But after researching it, he knew the holistic, hands-on style of care was exactly what he wanted to provide patients.
At UNT Health Science Center – designated a 2016 Military Friendly School by Victory Media – Zovath (TCOM 2018) said he discovered a university dedicated to supporting veterans. Staffers in the Office of the Registrar gave critical help with the complicated process of getting him veteran tuition assistance through the GI Bill and Hazelwood Act.
“They call and tell me, ‘We need this, this and this,’” Zovath said. “I give them what they need and, instead of me scrambling at the last minute, they make sure it’s done correctly and quickly.”
The university also has a thriving student group for veterans where Zovath could find classmates with shared backgrounds and experiences.
“We respect each other and we are an incredibly efficient group,” Zovath said. “Because we have all been the military, we know how to get things done.”
Zovath is enrolled in the university’s acclaimed Rural Osteopathic Medical Education of Texas program (ROME) that prepares students for life and practice in rural environments. It teaches future physicians to deliver care in underserved communities.
“I am proud to have served in the Marines,” he said. “But I’m also excited to be at the Health Science Center and to do some good in the world as a doctor.”