Called to Serve
LCDR Andy Camarata, MD’06, is the oldest of seven children and the son of two academic speech pathologists. After sharing his experience with Vanderbilt University School of Medicine students during Navy Week in June, the senior medical officer for Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 took questions about how to change culture and controversy in military medicine. Then, a hand went up in the back of the room.
“What wisdom do you have to impart on these medical students?” the attendee asked.
Camarata grinned and introduced his father, Stephen Camarata, PhD, professor of Hearing & Speech Sciences and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Vanderbilt, to the audience.
Stephen Camarata is no doubt proud of his son, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, who accepted a U.S. Navy Health Professions Scholarship to help pay for his VUSM education.
In response to the question, Andy Camarata replied, “You’re never ‘done,’” and stressed the importance of continuing education, looking for opportunity in every circumstance, and embracing new challenges for personal and professional growth.
He completed Undersea Medical Officer Candidacy School training in June 2008 and reported to the Navy Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU) in Panama City Beach, Florida. It was during this time he met his wife, Molly. In his final year at NEDU, he was selected for out-service residency training in radiation oncology and accepted a training position at Emory University in Atlanta. After graduating from residency in June 2015, Camarata returned to Navy Medical Center Portsmouth as a staff radiation oncologist. He, Molly and their three children live in Suffolk, Virginia.
Attracted to the mission, moral and character of the military, Camarata sees service to the men and women of the Navy as a vocation. So, while he continues to practice radiation oncology, he returned to operational military medical leadership as the EOD Group 2 Senior Medical Officer.
He was born in San Diego, California, and moved around a lot as his parents pursued their advanced degrees at Purdue, University of Arizona, Penn State, with a stint in Santa Barbara, California, before the family settled in Nashville where both his parents accepted faculty positions at Vanderbilt. All told, he has spent time on four continents, and logged weeks deep sea diving. He has served through natural disasters, spearfished, and jumped out the back of helicopters. If pressed to name his favorite destination, however, his answer is firm: home.