Medical Student Receives AAST Scholarship

By April Wilkerson 
Writer, OU College of Medicine

Medical student Tyler Zander received a scholarship from the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma

Earlier this year, OU College of Medicine Class of 2020 student Tyler Zander received a scholarship from the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST) to attend the organization’s annual meeting.
Zander was among only a few students, residents and fellows nationwide selected for the scholarship. The AAST meeting was held this fall and attracted about 750 physicians and scientists whose primary interest lies in the investigation and treatment of various forms of trauma and the application of surgical critical care.
The AAST, headquartered in Chicago, is the premier academic trauma surgery organization in the United States and has approximately 1,300 members from 30 countries.
Zander is an Oklahoma native whose journey to medical school was filled with both heartbreak and resilience. In 2011, he was working a summer job at a grain elevator before he returned to high school in the fall. He was shoveling wheat into a grain auger when he heard a scream from one of his co-workers. He instinctively ran toward the noise to discover his friend being pulled into the auger. Zander reached out to help and was pulled into the auger as well.
Zander’s injuries were so serious that his leg was amputated at the scene. He was flown to OU Medical Center, where he eventually underwent more than 30 surgeries.
Zander was so grateful to his orthopedic surgeon, Dr. William Ertl, and his other caregivers that he knew he wanted to become a physician as well.
“Because of them, I can do anything I want with my life. “I want to be a physician to other people like they were to me.”