Doctoral student, Clinical Psychology
At The University of Tulsa, U.S. Army Captain Isaac Shields has found many ways to combine his passion for helping others with his work in clinical psychology and his interest in the law.
In 2004, during his first tour of duty in Iraq, Shields e-mailed TU Associate Professor of Psychology Joanne Davis asking for help in collecting medical journals and books for Iraqi physicians.
“Medical physicians hadn’t been kept up-to-date with Western medicine because Saddam wouldn’t allow it,” Shields said. After investigating the situation, he discovered physicians had access only to a few outdated publications devoid of information on the advancement of medicine over the last 20 years.
Coordinating with Iraqi hospitals, the Army and TU supporters, he led a volunteer effort to help the Iraqi medical community better care for its patients – all during intense combat operations and violent insurgent attacks in the heart of Baghdad.
What he remembers most about his time in Iraq are the soldiers who risked everything to reach out to the Iraqis.
“These guys would come up to me and ask to make deliveries of books during their free time,” he said. “They’re the real heroes.”
Once his tour of duty ended in 2005, Shields returned to TU to finish his master’s degree. He met his wife, Susan, who was then a doctoral student at TU, and began work in neuropsychology with his mentor, TU Associate Professor Michael Basso.
The reputation of TU’s psychology program and Basso’s expertise had attracted Shields to TU, and he developed a strong personal and professional relationship with Basso, who is also a Navy Reserve Officer and is currently serving in Iraq.
“I knew I wanted to work on anything Dr. Basso was doing,” said Shields. “He’s now a good friend and a good mentor.”