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Sheppard Psychologist, Redlands Native, Keeps Airmen Mentally Focused on Mission in Southwest Asia

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Scott Sturkol
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing
Being fit to fight for the deployed mission takes more than running several miles a day or doing push-ups or sit-ups. That's the physical side. It also means being mentally fit -- which is where Capt. (Dr.) Kieran Dhillon-Davis finds her niche as her deployed base's chief clinical psychologist.

Dhillon-Davis, chief of mental health at the 380th Expeditionary Medical Group at a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia, is deployed from the 82nd Medical Operations Squadron at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. Her deployed duties require her to ensure mission readiness by providing mental health services to deployed Airmen and Soldiers.
"Being fit to fight is a critical component of our mission here," said the doctor, whose hometown is Redlands, Calif. "That means our deployed warriors should have a well rounded understanding of being fit both mentally and physically. Maintaining a high level of fitness enhances our ability to carry out the tasking order without interruption due to health complications resulting from poor lifestyle choices."

The five year Air Force veteran helps deployed personnel in enhancing wellness through individual therapy, behavior change and stress and anger management. She also leads programs such as nutrition, suicide awareness and tobacco cessation training.

"Tobacco cessation, for example, is something many people do when their deployed," said the 1997 graduate of Redlands High School and 2004 bachelor's degree graduate from the University of California at Santa Barbara. "I work one on one with service members trying to quit by coming up with a personalized plan to help them in conjunction with nicotine replacement."

After earning her bachelor's degree at UC-Santa Barbara, the captain earned a master's degree in psychology in 2005 followed by her doctorate of psychology in 2006. Both degrees were completed at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, Calif.

Ironically enough, the captain replaced her husband, Capt. Luther Dhillon-Davis, when she arrived for deployment in November 2009. Though she said she misses him, she's continuing to do what she knows best -- taking care of people. "I'm doing what I have been called out here to do -- just like everyone else," she said.

The doctor said she'll also keep passing along some of the best advice she can give to all deployed service members.

"We need to take ownership of our bodies and our behaviors so that we are fit and ready to perform our duties as warriors and retire with a healthy body and mind," Dhillon-Davis said.

The 380th AEW is comprised of four groups, including the 380th EMDG, and 12 squadrons and the wing's deployed mission includes air refueling, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of overseas contingency operations in Southwest Asia. The wing supports Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.