Meet Penn Medicine's Veterans of Care

Combat to Care

At Penn Medicine we recognize the hard work, discipline, compassion and dedication it takes to serve your country. These same values are at the core of what we do — providing high-quality patient care, advancing medical science through research and innovation, and educating the next generation of leaders in medicine.

Click below to see what a career with Penn Medicine has meant for some of our nation's heroes.

Neil Ravitz, Chief of Staff, Office of the CMO
Neil Ravitz, Chief of Staff, Office of the CMO

Neil Ravitz
Chief of Staff, office of the CMO
CPT, US Army

"Everything I had always done, was always around this idea of a greater mission, a greater good. Something that you were contributing to that you felt good about at the end of the day, That sense of purpose was important to me — wanting to know that you were a part of something larger that you believed in."

Neil Ravitz, the affable Chief of Staff for the office of the CMO, P.J. Brennan, attended West Point, where he was a star player on their football team. "I went to West Point, and without a doubt it was the biggest life-changing experience for me up to that point. I thought I knew what hard work was. I thought I knew what dedication was. I thought I knew all these things about teamwork and camaraderie. When I got to west point, I realized I didn't know anything about that really."

Upon graduating, he spent 2 years serving as an artillery officer, and then left military service to take advantage of a chance to play pro-ball for the Carolina Rhinos, an arena football league team. He continued to keep a commitment through the National Guard in PA. After 9/11, his unit was activated and he spent a year in Iraq.

His experiences in the Army made it easy for him to slide right into his work here at Penn Medicine and hit the ground running. In addition to his day-to-day duties, Neil was responsible for heading up the successful Innovation Tournament this year.

"I think what I've learned is to be adaptable. People think military and think 'rigid', when what they should think is disciplined and flexible."

Joey Fay, Project Manager Real Estate and Construction
Joey Fay, Project Manager Real Estate and Construction

Richard "Joey" Fay
Project Manager Real Estate and Construction
Capt., U.S. Marine Corps (reserves)

"I always wanted to get into the healthcare field, for the same reason I wanted to be in the military; you just want to be out there doing something that helps other people."

A graduate of the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Joey Fay is a project manager in the Penn Medicine Real Estate and Construction office. He is also currently attached to a Marine Corps reserve unit out of Virginia. During his active duty Marine Corp career he worked as an adjutant with the 2nd battalion, 7th Marines. During a year-long deployment to Iraq, he was part of the team that helped stabilize the southern half of Fallujah during the country's first elections.

"That was a really neat experience and a tough deployment. We had some of the issues that everybody has. So you face those challenges, and you overcome them. But it was a great experience overall. What I felt there was that it was a really neat opportunity to interface with a different culture; the language barrier was significant, the cultural barrier was significant, but your job was to overcome that. You get to help another part of the world, and hopefully make their life better. I think history will make that decision, but at the time, it felt like a good thing."

Joey has continued to serve in the Marine Corps reserves, and he credits his colleagues with making it possible for him to continue to serve his country.

"I always tell them here that when I leave, they should pat themselves on the back for their own support of the military. It's nice to know the group is willing to support that."

Thea Burke, Nurse Manager, HUP ED
Thea Burke, Assistant Nurse Manager, HUP ED

Thea Burke
Nurse Manager, HUP ED
CPT, US Army

"I felt that the best culture and the best morale was here at HUP, bar none. I felt that the nurses were the happiest; the relationship between physicians and nurses was the best; I loved the UBCL model... I just knew this is where I wanted to be because it reminded me the most of the military."

As a nurse in the US Army Nurse Corp, Thea Burke spent 4 years serving at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, including 3 years in the Dwight D. Eisenhower executive nursing suite (the presidential & VIP unit) and the Pentagon, caring for wounded troops and VIP patients alike. Her dedication to all of her patients and commitment to excellence was recognized when she was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) with just 4 years of service under her belt.

She shows that same dedication and commitment as the ED Manager for HUP, where she is able to apply that unending work ethic that our service members exemplify, to caring for her patients. "It doesn't matter if you donated money, or you're homeless, everyone should be treated with dignity." says Thea. Although she's only been here a few months, she has already made an impact, expanding her duties from just the psych ED, to include the ED as well.

"It does remind me of the military. If you start to do things well, they'll give you more."

Sean Rowland, VP Perioperative Services, PAH
Sean Rowland, VP Perioperative Services, PAH

Sean Rowland
VP Perioperative Services, PAH
Flight Nurse, US Air Force Reserves

Is it possible to serve in military and have a successful civilian career? For Sean Rowland, VP of Perioperative Services at Pennsylvania Hospital, the answer is yes.

Sean served 27 years in the reserves, starting out as a Navy corpsman, and then transferring to the Air Force and becoming a Flight Nurse. During his time as a flight nurse, his unit was one of the first to triage wounded troops returning from battle in Iraq and Afghanistan. "My most impactful deployment was in 2003 - I was deployed to Germany at Ramstein Air Base. We moved 12,000 combatants. They would get them out of Iraq and 24 hours later they'd be in Germany." says Sean.

It was during this period, that medical staff began to recognize the difference in the impact of PTSD in this group of service members, versus previous generations. "We quickly realized.these guys were in culture shock. This was early in the war. We realized that we were dealing with people that just killed someone yesterday. As healthcare workers, we weren't prepared for that." He continued, "One of the differences of the PTSD that exists today, that is different from the PTSD that existed years ago, prior to Vietnam was because during WWII and Korea, they redeployed by ship. They had 2 weeks to decompress, talk to their colleagues about what happened. Now, you're in Iraq, you're hurt, you are in Germany in 12 hours. Its better for your long term care, but there is no decompression, no way to vent."

Sean's now helping to guide a new generation of nurses, and using his military experience to create a culture of camaraderie and service excellence at Pennsylvania Hospital.

Marlene Emenimadu, Patient Equipment Coordinator, HUP
Marlene Emenimadu, Patient Equipment Coordinator, HUP

Marlene Emenimadu
Patient Equipment Coordinator, HUP
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Air Force

You have to be really detail oriented. There can't be any errors when an F15 is going up in the air."

5-minutes after meeting Marlene, and being dazzled by her smile, you will feel like you’ve known her for years. As the Patient Equipment Coordinator in the department of Materials Management at HUP, Marlene is able to capitalize on her 12 years of experience as an Air Force staff sergeant where she managed a platoon of airman whose job it was to keep F15 pilots safe and their planes in the air.  Now she ensures patients and staff have the specialized equipment that they need to keep them safe in the critical moments that impact their care.

As a teenager, Marlene was a candy striper at HUP, proving her commitment to service at that young age. After the Air Force, she returned to her roots at Penn Medicine. Well liked by her co-workers, she is successful at the job in part because she enjoys working with people and likes knowing that what she is doing is making a difference in the lives of both our patients and her colleagues; but also because being detail oriented and mission driven are key traits needed for this position.

Marlene credits the education she received after separating from the Air Force for her professional success — an education she was able to get thanks to her service. "I wouldn't have been able to go to school without the military."

Tim McInnes, Practice Manager, CCA
Tim McInnes, Practice Manager, CCA

Tim McInnes
Practice Manager, CCA
Chief Master Sergeant (retired), US Air Force

As a practice manager, Tim McInnes is responsible for the smooth operation of the day-to-day operations of Spruce Internal Medicine Associates. After 20 years in the Navy, Tim found the transition to Penn Medicine a challenge he could easily embrace. As a medical lab technician and manager in the Navy, he had the opportunity to work across disciplines in a large and complex organization. In his opinion, one of the things the military excels at is sharing and implementing best practices that benefit the whole organization. He finds that same opportunity for cross-discipline teamwork here at Penn Medicine. "What I do at Spruce, that can be shared elsewhere to [benefit] everyone else."

When submitting an application, please select your Veteran Status in the Optional EEO Information at the beginning of the application.