To honor son’s memory, physician strives to make UNTHSC a better place

By Alex Branch

Dr. Mills

John Mills, DO, has led by example all his life.

As a U.S. Army helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, he flew reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines, accumulating 832 combat hours.

As a physician, he practiced medicine in West Texas because he saw the scarce medical resources available to people there.

As a longtime UNT Health Science Center faculty member, he founded the university’s correctional medicine program that provides much-needed medical care for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Most recently, he created his fifth endowed scholarship to support the education of UNTHSC students, a commitment he hopes students who receive them will one day reciprocate.

“When I talk to students who receive these scholarships, I always say: ‘Hey, you know, you might be making good money one day. Maybe you’ll consider giving something back to support a student following your path,’” Dr. Mills said.

Jeremiah G. Mills Rural Medicine Scholarship s awarded to medical students with an interest in rural medicine. Last year, Dr. Mills created a scholarship to support a student in the field of Physician Assistant Studies.

Each scholarship is named after Dr. Mills’ son, Jeremiah, who died at age 21 from Ewing’s Sarcoma.

“That’s just something I do to permanently remember him, even when I am gone,” Dr. Mills said.

After serving in Vietnam, Dr. Mills earned his medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. After working as a U.S. Army Master Flight Surgeon, he accepted a job in 1989 at the UNTHSC Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine because he viewed it as the best preventive medicine program at an osteopathic medical school in the country.

One day, driving home from work, he heard a radio story about a chemistry professor who worked at another university for 30 years. After he died, the university discovered that he left a $1 million estate to support the chemistry department.

“Off a chemistry professor’s salary, he did that,” Dr. Mills remembered thinking. “He made an impact. I wondered what more I could be doing to make an impact.”

With support from family and friends, Dr. Mills began establishing scholarships for TCOM students and PA students. At a January 2018 UNTHSC scholarship dinner, he met several of the students whose education he supports in his son’s memory.

At age 70, Dr. Mills knows he won’t work at UNTHSC forever. But he can leave with no regrets about the impact he made while there.

“I always wanted a transformational relationship with the Health Science Center,” Dr. Mills said. “And I hope every faculty or staff member or student one day looks back and knows he or she did something to help make it a better place.”


Donate to UNTHSC

Learn how to you can make a gift and support research, education and the future of health care.

Recent News

Screenshot 2024 06 20 At 3.45.01 pm
  • Our People
|Jun 20, 2024

From sacrifice to success: a journey through physical therapy school

Ancelmo Mojarro came to Fort Worth to study. The Tyler native knew he wanted to be a physical therapist early on his undergraduate days. He embarked on his path to physical therapy a decade ago, inspired by a friend's suggestion amidst his quest to find his calling in the medical field. “I starte...
Garciarosanski
  • Our People
|Jun 20, 2024

HSC pro bono physical therapy program offers hope

For 70-year-old Beverly Rozanski, the journey to improved health has been long and challenging. Raised in Michigan, Rozanski spent her childhood and early adult years struggling with physical challenges that made even the simplest tasks seem insurmountable. However, her discovery of a pro bono p...
Mills John
  • Our People
|Jun 20, 2024

Team of HSC experts develops national position statement for NCCHC on care for aging patients in correctional facilities

Addressing an overlooked and sometimes neglected patient population, a group of experts from The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth partnered with the National Commission on Correctional Health Care to write a “Care for Aging Patients in the Correctional Setting” posit...
Jennifer Fix 2 Purple
  • Education
|Jun 18, 2024

Pharmacy technician shortage driving force behind new, online prep course

A self-paced, online Pharmacy Technician Preparation Course is now being offered through The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth as a way to help combat the shortage of pharmacy technicians at hospitals, health systems and retail pharmacies. Recognized by the Pharmacy Tech...