Blair Academy was pleased to welcome Dr. Thomas G. Crabtree to the Society of Skeptics on October 19. With over 39 years of experience working in the medical field as a surgeon and as director of AMI Expeditionary Healthcare (AMI), Dr. Crabtree spoke to Blair students about his current work, “A Tale of Two Pandemics: A Personal and Viral Journey.” Through the lens of his and the United States’ experience with Ebola and COVID-19, Dr. Crabtree focused on two main topics, highlighting the need to listen to experts while being skeptical and finding the opportunity within chaos, and arguing that there has never been a better time to pursue a career in science or medicine.
Since 2008, Dr. Crabtree has led AMI Expeditionary Healthcare LLC as Group Medical Director. AMI is a global organization that provides medical services to international aid organizations, humanitarian concerns, private sector and government agencies in a wide range of remote and challenging environments.
Prior to working in a civilian clinical office setting, Dr. Crabtree served as a colonel in the U.S. Army where he held a career as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon and focused on post traumatic, oncologic and congenital defect reconstruction. Always leading a life of service, Dr. Crabtree later served as the medical director and the senior medical advisor to the Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance of the U.S. Pacific Command. There, Dr. Crabtree was responsible for guiding, brokering and executing myriad military medical and civil-military medical assistance efforts and health development programs throughout the globe.
It is from these experiences that Dr. Crabtree is able to offer his main takeaway to the Blair community: Be skeptical about your life and examine what it is you want to contribute to the world.
“Using my own career experience and my time serving during two devastating but very different pandemics—both of which occurred during the students’ lifetimes—highlight just how important it is to be skeptical, ask questions, but at the end of the day, honor and treasure expertise.
“Also, you may know what you want to do. If so, make it happen,” said Dr. Crabtree. “You may not know. Guess what? It will likely still happen. The next 20 years will be full of twists, turns and tumult, but in this chaos lies your path. Finally, the opportunities to contribute, thrive and make a difference in science and medical careers has never been better.”
Dr. Crabtree was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, and is a Harvard and Stanford graduate. He completed his general surgery training in San Francisco and Tucson and his plastic surgery training in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.
History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.
The program, which is funded in part by the Class of 1968 Society of Skeptics Endowment Fund, is an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller and his successor, history department chair Jason Beck, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are thought-provoking, engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please visit Blair’s website.