Angela S. Earley

Captain, Medical Corps, United States Navy; Surgical Residency Program Director,
College of Mount St. Joseph, Class of 1991
Angela S. Earley Headshot

​​From the time I was old enough to consider career choices, I knew I wanted to be a surgeon. My entire academic track was focused on that mission. When I enrolled in college, I had the option of attending a small liberal arts college or a large university with a specific premedical curriculum. When I first visited Mount St. Joseph and met with the professors in the biology and chemistry department, I knew a liberal arts education would be right to help me stay on track toward medical school. In addition to the obvious benefits of small class size, the professors were accessible and could share valuable insights. They also recognized my passion for medicine, so they directed me toward appropriate research opportunities and work experiences. By the time I took the medical school entrance exam, I was well prepared for my next academic challenge.

The required courses outside of the sciences were formative in my professional development. Writing and public speaking are a regular part of my daily activities as a physician, educator, and leader. History, philosophy, and ethics education provided the foundation of my daily decisions, which may range from the mundane to life and death surgical interventions. I recognized a need to pass on this decision-making foundation to my residents in the form of a medical ethics curriculum in surgery education.
Outside of academics, campus life should be one of the most important considerations when choosing a college. I recognized the advantages of a small, pedestrian-friendly campus with a solid safety record. In retrospect, I probably developed most of my leadership and crisis management skills as a dorm resident assistant. Living in the dorm also allowed me to establish my independence and interact with students from other academic disciplines, backgrounds, and countries. Many became life-long friends.
Four years of undergraduate study at a small liberal arts school provided the solid foundation on which to build my additional 11 years of medical training and education. When asked about education in preparation for a medical career, I enthusiastically recommend liberal arts institutions, because I know the student, and ultimately the community, will benefit from the experience. As a program director for a surgical residency, I am responsible for reviewing every application and selecting students for training. I have long held that the best trainees are not those who easily pick up the technical skills; the best trainees are those that have the ability to make sound judgments based on reasoning, knowledge, and experience. I truly believe it often starts with a liberal arts education.​

Commander Angela S. Earley, MD, is the program director of the general surgery residency program and on the teaching staff at Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. She also is assistant professor of surgery at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, and has served on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Ohio State University. Earley advanced to the rank of captain in 2013, after serving in active duty for the United States Navy since 1995. She is an active fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and an associate member of the ACS Navy Committee on Trauma. Personal decorations include a Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal, an Overseas Service, Sea Service, and National Defense Service Medal, an Afghanistan Campaign Service Medal, an Iraq Campaign Service Medal, and Pistol Sharpshooter and Rifle ribbons.
Earley received her bachelor of science degree in biology/chemistry from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1991 and her doctorate of medicine from the University of Cincinnati in 1995. She completed a surgery internship at the Naval Medical Center San Diego in 1996 and served as a general medical officer at Naval Hospital Guam from 1996 to 1998. She returned to Naval Medical Center San Diego in 1998 for general surgery residency, which was completed in 2002, and became board certified in general surgery and surgical critical care. She was selected to complete specialty training in trauma and surgical critical care at the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 after completing an operational tour as the surgeon aboard CVN-65 USS ENTERPRISE from 2002 to 2003. 
In 2007, Earley deployed as a trauma surgeon in support of the U.S. Marines to Al Taqaddam, Iraq, where she served as the officer in charge of the Mobile Forward Resuscitative Surgical System. She returned to Naval Medical Center Portsmouth for two years as an academic faculty and staff surgeon. She was hand-selected to serve as the officer in charge and lead U.S. trauma and general surgeon at the United Kingdom Role 3 Hospital, Camp Bastion, Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2010.