Dr. William Kerst
I was born and raised in Indiana. Not long after high school I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile maintenance technician. I had a young family and I needed stable employment to take care of them. My wife (and still current wife), our new baby, and I, all moved to my first duty station at Malmstrom AFB, MT. Later, I completed my bachelor’s degree in psychology at Chapman University while stationed at Vandenberg AFB, CA where I was teaching ICBM maintenance tech school. Afterwards, I was selected for the only annual Air Force slot in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USU) in Bethesda, MD where I trained with Army, Navy, and Air Force psychologists and physicians. As the only Federal medical school and as an institution charged by Congress to train military doctors, my education at USU revolved around military medicine and military psychology. While at USU I was lucky enough to do my clinical training at Johns Hopkins Hospital for a year, the National Institutes of Health for two years, and a year with the men and women of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. After graduate school I was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB for my clinical internship and then at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson here in Alaska. My family and I came to JBER five years ago and when we rolled into Alaska, we were hooked. The natural beauty and unique people of the state has a healing property all its own. So, when my service commitment was up and the Air Force wanted to move us again, we opted to separate and stay here in the state we had adopted as home. I opened a private practice and began teaching at the local college and my family set about putting down roots for the first time in 16 years.
I have extensive training in working with trauma as well as traumatic brain injury. When I left the Air Force I was the deputy director of the only Air Force TBI clinic. While at that clinic we focused on treating the whole person by addressing the many kinds of stresses and injuries warfighters and their families have shouldered over the course of the longest war in U.S. history. I loved that work and I love continuing with that work in my private practice. However, with Battle Dawgs I’m excited to break away from the clinic-based and disorder-focused model of military medicine and start working with veterans to really focus on all the different ways they might make improvements in their lives.