Division of Biology and Medicine
Office of Women in Medicine & Science

MS3 Ahsia Clayton Will Bring Her Experiences from AMS and
the United States Army to her Career in Orthopedic Surgery

Ahsia Clayton is an AMS 2023 candidate who hails from Jackson, Mississippi. Two years ago, she joined the Department of Orthopedics’ Women’s Orthopedic Leadership Forum, a.k.a. WOLF, to explore orthopedic surgery as a career. She is a second lieutenant in the United States Army. Lieutenant Clayton explained, “Fun fact: my great grandfather served in the Army in WWII in the 761st Tank Battalion, which was the first African American tank unit in the United States Military.”
 
Clayton recounted her officer training at Fort Sill in Oklahoma in the summer of 2019 and last summer at Fort Sam Houston in Texas: “My training consisted of a split between classroom learning (assignments and exams) and field events, such as day-and-nighttime land navigation, weapons training & qualification, communications training, and basic officer leadership training. I received my first Army Achievement Medal at Fort Sam, serving as the Battalion S4, which involved leading the logistical planning of daily tasks needed to complete field training for over 100 soldiers.”

I asked for more details about what her training was like, and she recalled: “The last time I did a ruck march was during Summer 2019, and I can't remember how many pounds my pack was, but it was heavy. Last summer I was in San Antonio, Texas, so the temperature easily rose to the high 90s and low 100s on most days.  While out in the field, I was in full uniform every day doing all of my different tasks, as well as running different echelons of care facilities. Some days were so hot that people passed out. We were mostly eating MREs, which anyone in the military will tell you is not a fan favorite, but if it’s all you have then you make it work. Some days we did have hot meals, and I believe looking forward to a hot meal and shower was what pushed me through the heat and long days of training. I left the field with many new skills, a wonderful tan, and enough blisters on my hands and feet to share.”

As a leader and organizer, Ahsia has been an inspiration to her WOLF colleagues. In addition, she has shadowed orthopedic surgeons in Mississippi and Rhode Island and become involved in orthopedic research. Clayton is working in the Weiss Orthopedic Trauma Lab, with mentors Christopher Born, MD and Dioscaris R. Garcia, PhD, conducting research in biofilms and surgical implant infections. She chose orthopedics because “it is a team-based work environment; you work to improve the quality of life, whether that be getting people back to sports, marathons, work, religious practices, or even activities like gardening that people find joy and purpose in doing.”

Ahsia Clayton
 
Lieutenant Clayton

By Patricia Solga, MD

 

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