A member of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s Class of 2020 has been promoted to rank of captain in the U.S. Air Force.

Member of OUWB’s Class of 2020 promoted to Air Force captain
Capt. Joseph Adamson being pinned.
During a private ceremony on May 13, Capt. Joseph Adamson was pinned with his captain shoulder boards by his wife, Becky.

A member of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s Class of 2020 has been promoted to rank of captain in the U.S. Air Force.

Capt. Joseph Adamson — who officially adds the title of M.D. on June 1 — achieved the rank via his participation in the military’s Health Professionals Scholarship Program (HPSP). Previously, he was a commissioned officer with rank of 2nd lieutenant.

Adamson was pinned captain by his wife, Becky, in a private ceremony that would have otherwise been held during OUWB’s 2020 Honors Convocation, one of many events cancelled for safety and health reasons as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The couple now turns its attention to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, where Adamson soon begins a three-year family medicine residency that is part of a seven-year commitment to the Air Force.

“I feel great about it,” he said. “I’m really excited to be promoted to captain because it’s a big deal for all of us that take the scholarship, and reemphasizes the important of what we’re doing as well as the importance of the accomplishments that we’ve made in graduating from medical school.”

Adamson said his interest in the military began when he was in high school and lived near the Michigan Air National Air Guard Base in Springfield (near Battle Creek).

“We’d always see the planes flying over and my childhood dream was to be an Air Force fighter pilot,” he said.

His military career took a slight detour after high school when Adamson went to Hope College in Holland, Michigan, where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology. He worked for two years as a nursing assistant at Bronson Battle Creek Hospital after earning his undergraduate degree.

But Adamson said he wanted more — specifically, to attend medical school and become a doctor.

Adamson said he was accepted at six of the medical schools to which he applied, but was hooked on OUWB when he did his interview and second visit to campus.

“I really just loved the atmosphere of OUWB and the emphasis on community,” he said.

“I also saw that Beaumont Hospital is an amazing place to train and met some of the physicians who would be training me. I just felt really comfortable.”

Through participation in the HPSP program, Adamson’s medical school experience incorporated his lifelong dream of being part of the Air Force.

“I wanted to be a fighter pilot initially, but I really did love learning about science — physiology and biology,” he said. “And the idea of working with a huge team of physicians, whether the hospital or Air Force setting, was appealing to me.”

Via HPSP, Adamson received a full scholarship to attend OUWB. In exchange, he is committed to the Air Force for at least seven years (based on the requirements of his specific program).

However, Adamson said his participation in the program was based on more than the financial benefits.

“If you’re doing it just for the finances, it’s a really poor decision and I knew that going in,” he said. “It’s more about the population that you get to work with when you’re a military physician…the opportunities for growth and leadership.”


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Adamson was sure to take advantage of opportunities for growth and leadership at OUWB.

In 2019, he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society — an international society recognizing students, alumni, and faculty who dedicate themselves to the medical profession.

Additionally, Adamson was inducted into the Gold Foundation Humanism Honor Society, a society that annually recognizes students, residents, and faculty who exemplify a compassionate approach to medical care.

Adamson also was involved in the Emergency Medicine Interest Group and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Interest Group and served as a representative on the OUWB Curriculum Evaluation Committee. He also participated in OUWB’s Big Sib program.

In the southeast Michigan community, Adamson volunteered with Forgotten Harvest, World Medical Relief, Gary Burnstein Community Health Clinic, Royal Oak Fire Department, Easter Seals, and the Troy School District.

He also has served as co-investigator on several studies as well as principal investigator on a project evaluating significant barriers to mental health treatment utilization by veterans.

Looking forward, Adamson said he believes OUWB has set him up for success in a career in medicine.

Part of it is due to his own experiences at the school.

Another part, he said, is the groundwork laid by OUWB alumni who have worked hard to establish the school as top-notch around the country and helped people understand the kind of physician they’re getting in an OUWB graduate.

“It seems like wherever OUWB students go, people enjoy having us in the clinic or enjoy having us in the hospital,” he said.

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at [email protected]

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