Skip to main content

Flying High: Taylor Rudolph, DO, VCOM-Carolinas Graduate Turned Flight Surgeon

Taylor Rudolph standing in front of a fighter jet with her name under the cockpit
By Lily Collins -

Taylor Rudolph, DO, a graduate of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) - Carolinas, is not your average physician. With a passion for serving her country and a love for aviation, she has taken her medical career to new heights – quite literally. As a flight surgeon in the United States Navy, Dr. Rudolph plays a crucial role in ensuring the health and safety of aircrew and maintainers, including those involved in high-stakes operations like the Super Bowl flyover. In an exclusive interview, Dr. Rudolph shares her remarkable journey from medical school to the skies.

"I decided that I wanted to be a doctor at a very young age as I always had a passion for helping others," Dr. Rudolph reflects. "I felt that being a doctor was my calling and the best way that I could make a positive impact on others."

Her dedication to service didn't stop there. Inspired by her grandfathers' military service and driven by a desire to serve her country, Dr. Rudolph embarked on a path that combined her two passions: medicine and the military.

From Classroom to Cockpit

For Dr. Rudolph, choosing VCOM was a natural fit. "I went the non-traditional route and was a teacher through Teach for America prior to medical school, so I was very attracted to VCOM and its mission to provide care to underserved communities in the southeast," she explains.

VCOM's commitment to supporting military students further solidified her decision. "I learned that VCOM was very supportive of its military students, and that was definitely reassuring in the stressful and exciting transition to medical school."

Navigating the Skies: Life as a Flight Surgeon

As a flight surgeon assigned to VFA 122, Dr. Rudolph's responsibilities extend far beyond the confines of a traditional medical clinic. From conducting medical evaluations to providing in-flight support, her role is as diverse as it is demanding.

"My team is responsible for the safety and medical care of all aircrew and maintainers at my squadron," she elucidates. "Our primary mission is to keep everyone healthy for safe operations on the flight line and in the air."

I decided that I wanted to be a doctor at a very young age... I felt that being a doctor was my calling and the best way that I could make a positive impact on others.

Taylor Rudolph, DO , Flight Surgeon and graduate of VCOM Carolinas

Prepared for Takeoff: The VCOM Advantage

Reflecting on her training at VCOM, Dr. Rudolph credits the institution for equipping her with the skills and knowledge necessary for her career as a flight surgeon. The immersive experiences and rigorous curriculum at VCOM laid the foundation for her success in the Navy.

"VCOM provided me with a superior medical education, diverse rotations, and leadership opportunities that prepared me well for my intern year and to practice independently as a flight surgeon," she says.

Soaring to New Heights: The Super Bowl Flyover

One of the highlights of Dr. Rudolph's career came when she was chosen to participate in the Super Bowl flyover. Tasked with coordinating medical support for the flyover team, Dr. Rudolph's expertise played a vital role in ensuring the success of the mission.

"I felt extremely fortunate and honored to be a part of such a historic team," she shares. "It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I had the best view in the house!"

Breaking Barriers: Thriving in a Male-Dominated Field

Despite working in a predominantly male field, Dr. Rudolph has never let gender be a barrier to her success. "Thankfully, I have been treated very fairly by my peers and feel equally respected by them," she states.

Dr. Rudolph's advice to other women aspiring to pursue similar paths is simple yet powerful: "Go after your dreams and don't be scared to be the only woman in the room."

Future Horizons: A Continuing Journey

As Dr. Rudolph looks ahead to the future, she plans to complete her commitment with the Navy before pursuing further training in women's health.

"I am so grateful for my time in the Navy, and I believe it has made me a better person, leader, and physician," she reflects.

With unwavering determination and a pioneering spirit, Dr. Rudolph continues to soar to new heights, inspired by the possibilities that lie ahead.

Share This Story: