AFN NEWS STAFF
An Ahwatukee man who spent the last five years as a physical therapist will take a big step July 19 toward realizing his ambition to become a physician when he participates in the white coat ceremony at the University of Arizona College of Medicine–Phoenix.
Tyler Carlson, a Desert Vista High School alumnus, became a physical therapist to help people. Now, he wants to further his education and pursue a second career in medicine.
“If I can help people to understand the why and how health care can improve their lives, this will not only benefit them, but every other person they affect down the road,” Carlson said.
The white coat ceremony marks the first time that medical students don the defining symbol of a physician.
“The coat bestows a great honor, and with it comes a responsibility to uphold the trust of every patient they will encounter,” a college spokeswoman said.
Carlson holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UA and got his doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
He and his wife, Brooke, have two children – Alex, 4, and Summer, 2.
“My goal is to teach my children that when you apply yourself and work hard toward a goal, you can achieve something that makes our world better,” he said. “If you ask my son what his dad does, he will tell you I help people and that is all I’ve ever wanted to do.”
Carlson said the College of Medicine-Phoenix was his first choice.
“I love Arizona, especially the University of Arizona,” he said. “From the moment that my wife and I made the decision to go for it with medical school, the College of Medicine-Phoenix was the dream scenario where I could achieve my dream of becoming a physician at a fantastic school.”
Carlson said his wife and his children are his biggest inspirations.
“We’re embarking on this journey together,” Carlson said. “Alex is thrilled that I’m starting ‘doctor school’ the same time he starts ‘real school’ this fall. I want to teach my kids that with hard work, you can achieve your dreams and give help to those who need it.”
One of Carlson’s favorite volunteer experiences was working as a physical therapist on the sidelines for the varsity football team for Cesar Chavez High School in Phoenix.
“I love sports and being around the athletes,” he said. “I spent two seasons with them, experiencing the highs of victory and enduring the lows of defeat. I was fortunate to be able to travel with the team to Tucson for the first playoff victory in school history.
“I enjoyed being able to help the young adults with their injuries, but also provide a resource as a college graduate for any questions they might have regarding careers in science and health care.”
He also served in a free clinic in Rocky Point, Mexico.
In addition to his volunteer work, Carlson worked in a lab studying the effects of exercise on the severity of Parkinson’s disease.
He participated in research looking at different exercise protocols and the effects of osteoarthritis symptoms in post-menopausal women.
Carlson said he’s looking forward to getting his white coat, which he said “means dedication.”
“From every second, minute and hour poured into studying and learning, we will be able to provide genuine care for our future patients,” he said.
“It is my goal to be a doctor that is a source of support and healing, and the hard work I have already and will continue to put in will be for the purpose of improving the lives that I am able to impact.”
Founded in 2007, the University of Arizona College of Medicine–Phoenix trains physicians, scientists and leaders to optimize health and health care.
It has graduated 500 physicians, and is the anchor of the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, which is projected to have an economic impact of $3.1 billion by 2025.