Dr. Henry K. Lau, 1996 graduate of the College of Osteopathic

Medicine of the Pacific at Western University of Health Sciences and only

the second osteopathic physician (DO) to be commissioned a flight surgeon

for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds in its 50-year history, will visit

the Pomona-based campus on Thursday, April 8, 2004 at noon, to share his

compelling story with students.

Dr. Lau follows in the coveted footsteps of his former professor

and the man who set the precedent when he became the first DO flight

surgeon in Thunderbirds history during the time of the Vietnam War,

Dr. Burt Routman, an instructor and family medicine physician at Western

University’s Medical Center.

Commissioned in the Air Force in 1992, Lau’s military tenure

is marked by a steady rise in rank–from second lieutenant to captain to

major–and a stint in the search and rescue arm of the Operation Enduring

Freedom mission in Afghanistan shortly after the terrorist attacks of

Sept. 11, 2001. He officially signed on as an Air Force Thunderbird

flight surgeon on November 1, 2003.

As was Dr. Routman, Dr. Lau is currently stationed at Nellis Air

Force Base in southern Nevada, where he is a family medicine physician

in what is now his eighth year. The Air Force Thunderbirds, the elite

air demonstration team that has symbolized the Pentagon’s aerial division

for more than half a century, were activated in 1953 at Luke Air Force

Base in Arizona. Their name derives from southwestern Native American

folklore, which has long revered the half-eagle, half-hawk for its valor

and sky prowess.

“”We proudly welcome back Dr. Lau to his alma mater and we’re

eager to recognize both his and Dr. Routman’s precedent-setting

accomplishments in the tradition of osteopathic medicine. Their place

in both U.S. military and medical history is firmly cemented and an

inspiration for our future health professionals,”” said Western University

President Philip Pumerantz.

Located in Pomona, 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles,

Western University of Health Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution

of higher learning that offers post-baccalaureate degrees in several

health and medical fields. More than 1,500 students study to become

osteopathic physicians, pharmacists, physical therapists, advanced

practice nurses, veterinarians, and physician assistants at the

university’s five colleges.