When his mountain rescue beeper goes off, the call may take Christopher Van Tilburg, M.D. ’94, racing up a peak to rescue an injured hiker, into a blizzard to search for missing skiers, or to the recovery scene for an airplane crash. Unless, of course, he is out of the country — in Central and South America, Europe, Asia or Africa — volunteering, teaching, skiing, climbing or cycling. “I’m fortunate to have forged a life to blend my passion for the outdoors with my profession in medicine,” says Van Tilburg.
He began his lifelong commitment to community and global volunteering when he went on a medical mission to Ecuador with his father, Arthur Wayne Van Tilburg, a graduate of the UW School of Dentistry. When at home in Hood River, Ore., Van Tilburg is a staff physician at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital as well as the medical director of the oldest mountain rescue group in the nation, the Crag Rats. Van Tilburg is also a soccer coach, a school board committee member, an author, and the editor-in-chief of Travel Medicine News.