- Introduction: A Top-Level Look at the Future of Federal Medicine
- Military Health System in Time of Transition as Conflicts End
- Army Medicine: Redefining Its Role in the Generation of a Ready and Resilient Force
- Air Force Medicine: Averting an Identity Crisis
- Moving Forward with Reforming the Indian Health Service
- The Clinical Pharmacy Specialist's Growing Provider Role in VA
- Public Health Service Pharmacy: Accelerating Transformation
- Military Pain Management’s Future: Less Invasive, More Data-Driven Techniques
- Navy Medicine: Strong, Agile and Ready
- Telemental Health in VA: A New Source of Support for Veterans
USU Graduates Fulfill Military Medical Mission At Home And Abroad Cont.
- Categorized in: This Year in Federal Medicine - Outlook 2012
Preparing Students to Serve
Post 9/11, many in our nation sought ways to better serve those values that define us as a people, including ways to heal those who have been injured. We have welcomed students who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and whose first thought of a career in healthcare came after being treated by one of our alumni. Other students were inspired to pursue a career in uniformed service after learning of the great need and the extraordinarily expanded opportunities to help and to heal the wounded.
USU Graduates serving in Afganistan - USU Photo
The university’s research mission reflects the “post 9/11 priorities” as faculty explore fundamental mechanisms of human health. Infectious disease prevention and treatment, especially in far corners of the globe, work on vaccines, on radio-protectants and health promotion and human performance. As noted earlier, USU’s focus on military medicine has never been more relevant as our faculty pursue new TBI research and ways to help our troops manage PTS. Enormous strides also have been made in the development of prosthetics and in pain management. We have conducted research and training in family and child health and meeting the needs of both those deployed and their families. Our educational curriculum and our training have been modified to reflect the changed lives of our patients and the advances we have made benefit them and the wider public health.
Bushmaster, the capstone experience and final exam for the Military Contingency Medicine course, has been modified significantly to reflect the real world, in which our graduates may treat patients deployed to such places as Afghanistan. Our students learn to practice “good medicine in bad places,” and they learn about international law governing medical care in combat, ethics and the relevance of other cultures in providing care. They learn about stress and how to help others, and to manage their own health and well-being. These exercises involve students from other nations, including Great Britain, Japan, France and Mexico, and extend the impact of the United States and our MHS beyond everyday spheres of practice. Bushmaster also provides an early opportunity for our nascent physicians to work closely in operational settings with experienced advanced practice nurses.
Fulfilling a Unique Mission
We also are mindful that what we do has enormous relevance to public healthcare practice across our society and have developed new ways to interact with the civilian sector and export our knowledge and experience. Our faculty are key to this important dialog with the civilian sector and are active in scientific societies, NIH study sections and are leaders within their own disciplines.
This also is a time when the demand for advanced degrees in medicine, nursing and dentistry far outstrips the supply. The university understands its central role in assuring that the MHS has an adequate supply of these key healthcare personnel. We are faced with a declining number of clinicians while sustaining that essential cadre of leaders who are key to maintaining the excellence of the MHS.
We are confident that the cost of educating our uniquely qualified students is in line with the private sector and that their education and training is not replicated elsewhere. In addition, we play a key role for the MHS and public health at large in addressing the national shortage of physicians, advanced practice nurses and dentists. The DoD cannot ensure an adequate cadre of military-medical practitioners and leaders without the continued contribution of USU graduates.
It is important to note that USU is in the Top 10 U.S. medical schools whose graduates enter primary care. This acute need for primary-care practitioners also is addressed by our Advanced Practice Nursing Program. Our behavioral-health programs are national leaders in dealing with those challenges faced by our nation and especially our servicemembers. None of this capacity to address pressing and new health challenges is new for this university: Our long history at the forefront of emerging and infectious disease is another example of this part of our DNA — the mission and capacity to deal with those things that challenge our nation and the world.
In short, we have many of the factors that others seek to emulate, and we are extraordinarily well equipped and positioned to be a leader in military and public health systems and academic health centers in the 21st century. Our task and my vision is to bring together our assets in ways that will increase their impact, pioneering new collaborations among federal agencies and between public and private sectors, to play the key role in insuring that the WRNMMC is a first-class U.S. academic medical center and to create a new and better model for education, research, training and care in service to those for whom we care.
I have often said that a university’s legacy is its alumni. Recently, we received a photo from Afghanistan from one of our alumni. It shows 10 uniformed officers, USU alumni from SOM and GSN, all serving in a forward-deployed medical unit, working across disciplines and across services as they were educated to care for those in harm’s way.
They discovered that more than half of the healthcare professionals they were serving with were graduates of USU. I can think of no picture that better shows this university’s contribution to our nation and exemplifies my highest goals and priorities.