Commitment to the mission is critical for active duty and veteran military. The military professionals who make up Envision Healthcare are committed to our mission of improving life in our communities one moment at a time. In recognition of their efforts, we are proud to share the stories of some of Envision Healthcare’s talented and dedicated military professionals.
In the 30 years that Brad Hoover, M.D., FAAEM, has practiced emergency medicine, every triumph and challenge has strengthened his faith and solidified his resolve to serve his patients.
While he had always set his sights on a career in medicine, his trajectory in the field was influenced by his military service.
“I’m a product of my environment,” explained Dr. Hoover, Regional Medical Director for the Emergency Departments in the TriStar Health system in Nashville. “My father was a dentist, so I was exposed to the medical field at a young age. My father had been in the Navy, and my brother went to West Point. I had a plan, and I didn’t divert from it.”
After college, he received a scholarship for medical school through the U.S. Army’s Health Professions Scholarship Program. The program awards qualifying students with full tuition and a stipend in exchange for their military service. After medical school and a year-long internship in El Paso, Texas, Dr. Hoover began repaying his scholarship by serving the country with the Army. He completed a three-year rotation in Germany before deploying to the Middle East for Operation Desert Storm. During the military conflict, he was deployed with an artillery unit and treated patients in a field hospital.
“I was so green then,” Dr. Hoover said of his lack of medical experience. “I treated casualties – mostly Iraqis – and our soldiers, who had illnesses like dehydration and pneumonia.”
Life After the Military
When Dr. Hoover returned to Texas, he completed a residency in emergency medicine, a specialty he chose after his experience as a clinician in the Army.
“After being on the frontlines, there’s a variety and immediacy in emergency medicine that I’m drawn to,” he said. “And, when you’re off, you’re off; there’s no call, and you’re not tied to a pager. You have the ability to create your own schedule and have a good lifestyle. It’s very appealing.”
After residency, Dr. Hoover served two more years in the Army at Fort Campbell on the Kentucky-Tennessee border. On post, he served as chief of the emergency department, before taking a role at a civilian hospital as associate medical director. He was promoted to medical director and now serves as a regional medical director, a career ladder that he attributes to the leadership skills he acquired in uniform.
An Unthinkable Loss Inspires Hope
In 2004, the Hoovers suffered an unthinkable personal challenge: their adopted son Liam was diagnosed with brain cancer. Months of treatment followed, and Dr. Hoover documented each day’s activities in daily emails to friends and family. Liam lost his battle with cancer less than a year and a half later at age 12 but inspired to help other parents, Hoover’s wife Michelle founded the Hoover Hope Foundation. An organization that supports the families of pediatric cancer patients, the Hoover Hope Foundation helps pay for hotel rooms, food, gas and other needed items. The organization is now operated through Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville.
Dr. Hoover’s daily emails during Liam’s treatment have also found new purpose, recently being published as a book, titled A Hero in a Bandana: A Family's Walk Through the Valley. The book includes an inscription from country singer Brad Paisley, who met the Hoovers when Liam was being treated at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. All proceeds from the book go to the Hoover Hope Foundation.
“Liam passed away, but his doctors worked tirelessly to give us 15 months with him despite a very bad diagnosis,” said Dr. Hoover. “I am so grateful for the time that we had with him, and now his legacy will live on.”
The Hoovers have adopted two other children: 22-year-old Aubrey was adopted from Latvia and 12-year-old Gabriel was adopted locally. They also are fostering a 9-year-old boy.
Dr. Hoover teaches religious education to children at his church and serves on the board of Small World Ministries, a nonprofit Christian adoption agency.
Supporting Physician Veterans
Dr. Hoover has interviewed and hired dozens of physicians over the last 20 years. Those with military experience, he said, usually are excellent physicians. “If I hire a candidate with a military background, 95 percent of the time, he or she is one of the most solid clinicians on my team.”
And, when he treats military veterans, there’s a bond like no other.
“It’s a club, a shared experience that we have,” said Dr. Hoover, who has been with Envision for five years. “There’s nothing more satisfying in this line of work than talking to a vet about his experience in the service.”
As a proud veteran, Dr. Hoover is equally proud of the respect and recognition that Envision Healthcare displays toward veterans.
“Envision transcends labels. It’s not corporate medicine,” he said. “The company is all about building relationships and encouraging people to get to know each other. With ERs in nearly every state, the opportunities for clinicians are endless.”
In fact, in 2014 when the Hoovers wanted a change of pace, Dr. Hoover transferred to an open medical director position at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota in Florida after spending 16 years at the same hospital.
“Opportunities come and you just have to seize them,” said Dr. Hoover, who returned to Nashville in 2017. “My story is pretty amazing. It’s all been about timing and a little bit of luck. I’ve been really blessed.”