Wade Pinson initially planned on a career in mental health and today that’s exactly what this 2009 graduate of Saba University School of Medicine is doing as a board certified Psychiatrist working with returning veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at the Amarillo Veterans Administration Medical Center in his hometown of Amarillo, Texas.
But as Wade will be the first to tell you, he took a circuitous route to get where he is today.
After double majoring in psychology and religion at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, TX, and working as a Case Manager at a local mental health clinic, Pinson got hit with the teaching bug.
Heading back to school, while holding down a night job at Walmart to pay the bills, he double majored in Biology and Chemistry, and after earning his Masters in Education, found himself as chair of the small science department at the high school in nearby Kress, Texas.
But after two years, his initial interest in mental health resurfaced. That’s when he decided on medical school and headed off to Saba where he graduated with honors in 2009.
What led him to Saba? “I spoke to a lot of alumni as part of my research, and some of the friendliest, most supportive, and most helpful alums that I spoke to were Saba alums. I chose Saba based on my conversations with those Saba grads.”
Heading back to the US, Wade did most of his clinical rotations in Kansas City and then matched into his top ranked psychiatry residency choice in a warm weather locale: Phoenix, Arizona. “I interviewed at impressive programs like Mayo Clinic, Dartmouth, Syracuse, and Washington University, but my family really didn’t want to live in a cold weather location. I interviewed a lot at home in Texas, which was nice. But I found the program in Phoenix to be very resident friendly while still being dedicated to a strong education in front line clinical Psychiatry. Like Saba, it was the right fit for me.”
After a three-year psychiatry residency in Phoenix, Wade applied and was accepted into a two-year fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, which is well known for research in child and adolescent psychiatric research. From there he came back home to Amarillo, Texas.
Today he cares for veterans from throughout the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles, eastern New Mexico, and Colorado. Many of his patients are younger male and female veterans returning from Middle East deployments and are dealing with a wide range of conditions, including Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD, Schizophrenia, depression, alcoholism, and opioid addiction.
“I look back on all my experiences and I see how all of them helped prepare me for what I am doing now,” said Pinson. “I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I would definitely choose Saba again.”
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