Alumni

Tom Lukens, R’67, is an adrenaline junkie. It’s one reason he’s spent his career as an emergency physician. And it’s why, during his downtime, he now travels the world as a ship’s physician for National Geographic.

His adventures began when a colleague at MetroHealth in Cleveland talked about a trip he had taken with National Geographic. “It sounded exciting,” Lukens said. “I sent my resume to National Geographic and told them I was available.”

Initially, they told him it would be at least a year before he would be assigned to a ship. A month later, however, he went on his first voyage, to Baja California, Mexico.

Lukens cares for passengers and crew. He dispenses medicine and has access to an EKG machine and IV fluids that patients may need.

“I was surprised that most passengers and crew were complaining of simple things like colds, coughs, and seasickness,” he said. “I was prepared for more serious illnesses given some of the locations that we visit.”

Lukens usually serves as a ship’s physician on at least two adventures each year. He has four trips scheduled in 2020, including one that will take him to Cambodia and Vietnam via the Mekong River. “That’s one I’ve been waiting to do now for several years.”

The adventurer has been to Antarctica four times and explored the Falklands and South Georgia, British territorial islands in the southern Atlantic Ocean where “there are thousands and thousands of penguins,” he said. He has also sailed to Norway and Svalbard (a Norweigan archipelago) and made several visits to Costa Rica, normally after passing through the Panama Canal.