Veteran, Rush Faculty Member: ‘What is My Identity?’

Photo by Jason Chiou, Rush Photo Group

Photo by Jason Chiou, Rush Photo Group

By Tanya Friese

What is your identity? Identity is a multifaceted concept rooted in culture, religion, sexual orientation, profession, personal philosophy, social roles in society and many other forces driven by nature and environment. There is no right or wrong answer. How I define myself may change over time and may be different than how others perceive me.

I am a faculty member at Rush University College of Nursing. I teach public health, community-based mental health, epidemiology and biostatistics and conduct research to improve the quality of life for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities. I am also a retired noncommissioned officer of the United States Navy, a hospital corpsman, and a 100 percent disabled Gulf War veteran. So what is my identity?

Many of us (current and former service members) are still trying to figure this out. I am fortunate to have the support of Rush College of Nursing and Rush University Medical Center embrace me holistically as the complex human I am.

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