Allison Perry

By

College: Medicine

UK Surgeon Balances Military, Civilian Career

Published: Mar 18, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 18, 2013) — It's difficult enough to manage one career, much less two — but University of Kentucky cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Timothy Mullett is successfully managing a medical career for both UK and the U.S. Army Reserve.

 

Mullett, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, recently returned to Lexington by way of Afghanistan. The military deployment was his second during the Global War on Terror, with his first to Iraq in 2004.

 

"I've had opportunities to deploy — and that hasn't been an onerous task for me," Mullett said, noting that open communication with his civilian and military superiors has been key to his achievements. "The Army Reserve has been very accommodating with regard to my civilian career." 

 

Certainly, he understands the impact of being away from his practice.

 

“Deployment has a big impact on my family and my coworkers," he said. "I couldn’t serve without their sacrifice.”

 

Over the years, Mullett, 51, said he has been able to focus his efforts where they were needed most. When he came to UK in 1996, it was as a surgeon who focused more on heart issues. However, after arriving, he quickly saw a void that needed to be filled and refocused his work on one of Kentucky's biggest health problems — lung cancer. Two years later, UK formed the Multidisciplinary Lung Cancer Program, naming Mullett as its director.

 

For the Army Reserve, he focused on advancing his military career by participating in training in events. He also participated in a Homeland Defense mission, being trained and ready to support potential terrorist activity within the United States.  He has been prepared for chemical/biologic and nuclear threats.  More recently, his attention turned to manning a Forward Surgical Team in a warzone.

 

Physicians and surgeons in the Army Reserve generally serve one weekend each month and approximately two weeks every year. They may be called upon for deployments as the need arises. However, those deployments are much shorter in duration than those of the average soldier. Mullett's most recent tour to Afghanistan was 90 days, boots on ground.

 

While he was in Afghanistan, Mullett said he was not as busy as he is in his civilian practice. In a warzone, that's a good problem to have. Mullett said it took "prayerful contemplation," to comprehend the importance of his role.

 

"What I came to understand is that the soldiers who were going outside the wire took confidence in the fact that we would be here for them if something happened," Mullett said.

Thoracic surgery is one of more than 100 medical specialties represented in the Army. Mullett is one of the few Army surgeons who holds this specific "area of concentration," as the Army refers to officer positions. Mullett says he's "kind of an anomaly" because there are very few thoracic surgeons serving in the Army.

 

"The Army has allowed me to expand my capacity by learning new skills and teaching others," Mullett said. “The Army is excellent at leadership and organizational structure, it has to be in order to respond the active threats. I’ve been able to bring some of that back to my practice. I also feel that the preparation for patients injured with the complexity of war wounds in an austere environment has made me a better surgeon.”

 

At UK, his work on lung cancer prevention and treatment is still going strong. In 2011, the New England Journal of Medicine released research from the National Lung Cancer Trial showing that CT scans, which are more sensitive than standard X-rays, are better at detecting lung cancer in its early stages.

 

Mullett is part of the UK Markey Cancer Center team working with Louisville's Norton Cancer Institute toward developing a program to provide CT scans as a means of early lung cancer screenings. Because lung cancer is often not caught until the cancer is in a late stage — meaning it has spread to other parts of the body — early screenings would be key to greatly improving survival rates.  He also directs the Kentucky Clinical Trials Network, a statewide organization of physician practices engaged in Lung Cancer research.  Enhancing Lung Cancer Screening in  Kentucky is a current priority of that program.

 

While working in several areas, Mullett credits flexibility in his dual roles, “the ability to shift my priorities between the Army and my practice has allowed me to build each area, as needed, for the past 24 years.  When there are demands from my work at UK, the Army career has to wait.  When the Army calls, I am able to work with my practice to achieve the best result.  It has been blessing to be part of these two great organizations and a privilege to serve.”

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or allison.perry@uky.edu 

mullet.jpgmullet.jpg
September
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
Student/Faculty/Staff Mixer
Tue
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: The Wolf of Wall Street
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Drop a Course with 80% Refund
UK Volunteer Fair
Wed
4
LNFS Presents: Children of Men
LNFS Presents: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Black and Latino Male Initiative
Advance Your Swagger: A Night with Fonzworth Bentely
Thu
5
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Northern Iowa
Kentucky Volleyball vs. USC
LNFS Presents: Spirited Away
LNFS Presents: Mulan
Fri
6
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Football vs. Ohio
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Creighton
Lets Swing Dance!
Sat
7
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Morehead State
Sun
8
Diversity Organization's Council
Kosher/Soul? (Jewish, African American & Appalachian culture Fuse)
Mon
9
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Tue
10
Massage on the Go
College: Do the Right Thing- A conversation with Dr. Smith
LNFS Presents: Fight Club
Wed
11
LNFS Presents: Mr & Mrs Smith
LNFS Presents: 22 Jump Street
Thu
12
LNFS Presents: Searching For Sugarman
LNFS Presents: Sin City
Fri
13
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Men's Soccer vs. ETSU
Sat
14
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Pepperdine
Sun
15
Kentucky Week Farmer's MarCat and Craft Fair
Majestic U.N.I.T.Y.
Mon
16
Justice Delayed not Justice Denied: A Talk with Dough Jones
PRHBTN Gallery Reception and Concert
Men's Soccer vs. Xavier
Tue
17
Internship Info Session
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Caregiver Support Group
LNFS Presents: The Immigrant
Wed
18
LNFS Presents: Watermark
LNFS Presents: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Lipscomb
Thu
19
LNFS Presents: A Band Called Death
LNFS Presents: Prisoners
Men's Soccer vs. Furman
Fri
20
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Xavier
Sat
21
 
Sun
22
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Mon
23
Employer Showcase
Men's Soccer vs. Lousville
Tue
24
Employer Showcase
Last Day to Drop a Course with 50% Refund
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
LNFS Presents: Saving Mr. Banks
Wed
25
LNFS Presents: Culture Jam
LNFS Presents: Maleficent
Thu
26
LNFS Presents: Ponyo
LNFS Presents: The Little Mermaid
Women's Soccer vs. Mississippi State
Fri
27
Kentucky Football vs. Vanderbilt
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
28
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Auburn
Sun
29
 
Mon
30
 
Tue
 
 
 
 
Sep 01
Labor Day - Academic Holiday 09/01/2014
Reset Page