Military Appreciation Month: PCOM's Kevin Hauns (DO '27)
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Making an Impact in the Military and Medicine 
Military Appreciation Month

May 20, 2024
Headshot photograph of PCOM med student Kevin Hauns (DO '27) in his U.S. Army officer dress uniform.

Spend one hour with osteopathic medical student Kevin Hauns (DO '27), and you will understand what it means to relentlessly pursue your dreams. 

At just 46 years old, he has already earned a PhD, served more than a decade in the military, contributed to the development of a malaria vaccine, begun his medical school journey at PCOM, and much more. Oh yeah, and he is raising two children with his best friend, his wife.

When you ask him how this incredible adventure began in the first place, he says, “It's actually a crazy story.”

In graduate school, Hauns and his wife could never have imagined being where they are now.

“We bought a TV when I was in graduate school, and she was just starting her career. The TV was like $750, and we were wondering how we were gonna pay for it. We ended up returning the TV,” he said with a laugh. “But now we're in a different place in our lives.”

Kevin Hauns and his wife smile and hold their baby son.

After earning his PhD in molecular and cellular biology, Hauns completed two postdoctoral research positions. One of which allowed him to exercise his creativity in Alzheimer's therapeutic development. Based on Hauns' knowledge and experience, he was offered a direct commission to serve as a microbiologist in the U.S. Army.

He has held various positions in the military, ranging from Chief of Joint Safety Operations to Deputy Director of the Bacterial Disease Branch. Perhaps his most important role was as a support system for soldiers throughout the pandemic as the Company Commander of the Walter Reed Army Institute – the largest biomedical research unit in the Department of Defense.

“Questions started to pop up. How do you build camaraderie in a virtual environment? How do you address some of the mental health problems that we have and don't talk about in the military?” he shared.

Hauns says that soldiers always see the stigma associated with asking for help, so he created a space for everyone to talk openly about the struggles they were facing.

“I started a webinar series about persevering during these times,” he said. “I had military and civilian psychologists and psychiatrists speak in an open forum where anyone could ask questions. From the perspective of a soldier who is hurting and might not want to, I activated an anonymous chat so people would ask real questions.”

This experience and other moments, including one where a soldier confided in him about whether he wanted to live or not, prompted Hauns to become interested in psychiatry.

PCOM's Kevin Hauns (DO '27) smiles with his wife, son, and daughter in a family photo.

“[Wanting to become a psychiatrist] is born from all of that command time I have had sitting down with soldiers and counseling them. Walking them through hard times,” he shared.

Hauns has had his own hard times and personally understands the sacrifices made by those who choose to serve.

“You miss a lot of events in life,” he said. “I was trying to run my lab at school, which was intense, and then my father-in-law passed away. We were close. People don't realize the extent and gravity of that situation, dealing with such sacrifices.”

Over his time in the military, there have been many challenges like these. Thankfully, Hauns' family and their support of him make it all worth it.

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About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

For the past 125 years, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM, a private, not-for-profit accredited institution of higher education, operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, and school psychology. The college also offers graduate degrees in applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, physician assistant studies, and school psychology. PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit or call 215-871-6100.

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