The UC Davis School of Medicine participated yesterday in the kickoff of academic medicine's formal involvement in First Lady Michelle Obama's Joining Forces initiative, which aims to bring attention to the needs of America's military families in the areas of employment, education and wellness.
Hosted by Obama, the kickoff event took place at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Timothy Albertson, acting chair of the UC Davis Department of Internal Medicine, represented the UC Davis medical school at the ceremony.
"We are proud that UC Davis has had long and successful partnerships with different facets of the U.S. military, and we look forward to contributing to Joining Forces," said Albertson. Albertson is a U.S. Army combat veteran who was awarded the Combat Medical Badge.
The Association of American Medical Colleges formally supports Joining Forces, and is encouraging medical schools and teaching hospitals to address the health-care needs of military service members, veterans and their families. The schools and hospitals that are supporting Joining Forces have pledged to mobilize their integrated missions in education, research and clinical care to train the nation's physicians to meet veterans and their families' unique health care needs, including post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
A summary of some of the UC Davis programs that support Joining Forces is as follows:
- David Grant USAF Medical Center partnership
- Since the summer of 2005, the entire residency program of David Grant Medical Center, located at Travis Air Force Base, has been merged with the UC Davis Medical Center residency program. Military surgeons who received trauma training and completed surgical residencies at UC Davis applied the organizational principles they learned there while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, to great effect. At Kirkuk Air Base in Northern Iraq, a surgeon who had been trained at UC Davis Medical Center implemented what became known as "the Davis system."
- Vascular Surgery Residency Program
- The integrated residency program in vascular surgery accepts two residents per year for the five-year program, one civilian and one from the U.S. Air Force. Several factors have made integrated residencies in vascular surgery an increasingly desirable option, including a shortened training timeline compared to completion of a fellowship after general surgery residency.
- Internal Medicine Residency Program
- In 2009, David Grant Medical Center established an internal medicine residency training program with the UC Davis Department of Internal Medicine. Currently four active-duty Air Force residents are in the program, with another two who have matched scheduled to begin in July 2012. The residents receive the majority of their training at UC Davis Medical Center, and at the medical center's affiliated VA and Kaiser affiliates.
- Military Student Interest Group
- The Military Medicine Student Interest Group is primarily intended for UC Davis medical students pursuing careers in the armed forces. The group serves as an important resource for sharing information about opportunities and challenges in training for and later providing medical care to U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.
- Military Faculty Mentors
- The School of Medicine's Office of Student Wellness has assembled a group of faculty members who have served in the military or still retain some form of active status to serve as mentors to medical students who are veterans, or are considering a career in military medicine. The faculty members have agreed to make themselves available to these students to provide counseling, advice and other support to help them avoid feelings of burnout and isolation.
- John A. Majda, MD Foundation Grant
- The Office of Student Wellness, in collaboration with two student leaders, was recently awarded a two-year grant from the John A. Majda, MD Foundation to pursue additional support for military students. Specifically, the goal of this project aims is to identify and characterize the factors that protect against burnout in military medical students.
- Partnership with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- UC Davis Health System has a long and successful partnership with the VA Northern California Health Care System. For example, UC Davis Medical Center provides care for veterans needing specialized services that are not available on-site at the VA. The VA serves as an outstanding teaching center for many UC Davis medical students and residents. UC Davis collaborates with VA colleagues on a variety of research studies, including studies conducted at the Sacramento VA Medical Center facility and the VA Outpatient Clinic and Center for Rehabilitation and Extended Care in Martinez.
- CTSC Clinical Research Center, Sacramento Veterans Administration Hospital
- Located at the former Mather Air Force Base, the CTSC Clinical Research Center is one of only four such facilities housed at any of the nation's 158 VA medical centers. It is a highly specialized patient unit that provides medical scientists with opportunities for the careful study of disease. Substantial numbers of veterans have participated in trials and benefited from being provided novel treatment and diagnostic opportunities.
- UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center
- The UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center is one of only 29 research centers designated by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Aging. The center's goal is to translate research advances into improved diagnosis and treatment for patients while focusing on the long-term goal of finding a way to prevent or cure Alzheimer's disease. It conducts trials in Sacramento and in Martinez at the VA Medical Center to understand how common factors like age, ethnicity, race and socioeconomic status contribute to the onset of neurodegenerative diseases.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden created Joining Forces to bring Americans together to recognize, honor and take action to support veterans and military families as they serve our country and throughout their lives. The initiative aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of society to ensure veterans and military families have the support they have earned. The initiative focuses on key priority areas -- employment, education, and wellness while raising awareness about the service, sacrifice, and needs of America's veterans and military families. More information is available at: www.JoiningForces.gov.