A Message from Department Chair, Tim Albertson
A commitment to serve our veterans
For most of this century, U.S. military forces have been at war, in Afghanistan and Iraq. As you would expect, our soldiers have performed at a very high level and dutifully executed the orders issued by their commanders.
However, many have accurately pointed out that the all-voluntary nature of our military has left the overwhelming majority of Americans untouched by these wars. Their burden has not been shared equally across the U.S. population. Instead, the conflicts have placed a disproportionate and extreme burden on the military, especially reservists and their families.
The men and women in our armed forces freely chose to serve our country. As a veteran myself, I know that they are dedicated professionals who perform their jobs willingly and with honor. However, when our country sends troops into combat, those of us who have not made the same sacrifices have a moral obligation to support these veterans when they return to civilian life in the U.S.
That’s why I am pleased that the UC Davis School of Medicine is participating in Joining Forces, First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative that aims to bring attention to the needs of America’s military families in the areas of employment, education and wellness. Earlier this year, in January, I had the honor of traveling to Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine for the kickoff event marking academic medicine’s formal involvement in Joining Forces.
The Association of American Medical Colleges supports Joining Forces and encourages medical schools and teaching hospitals to address the health-care needs of military service members, veterans and their families. Coinciding with Veterans Day on Nov. 12, the AAMC has scheduled educational activities as part of Joining Forces Wellness Week, a week-long initiative from Nov. 12-16. The activities include a webinar series focused on a variety of military-related topics.
I am proud that UC Davis has had long and successful partnerships with different facets of the U.S. military. Our medical students and residents use the Sacramento Veterans Administration Hospital, located at the former Mather Air Force Base, to fulfill their surgery, psychiatry and pathology rotations. Training at the VA hospital benefits our students and residents, as well as the veterans we serve. Veterans truly appreciate the time and attention our faculty, students and staff provide. We also have a partnership with David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base. Our medical students do rotations there, and we also have active duty residents in surgery and medicine at the medical center.
The medical school’s Office of Student Wellness has several initiatives aimed at supporting students who are military students — veterans or those enrolled in military medicine programs. Through grants from the John A. Majda MD Foundation and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the office is conducting several focus groups to help collect insights into the needs of our military students. The student wellness office will use the findings from these focus groups to design interventions to support our military students.
Our Human Resources department works with a variety of agencies as part of its outreach program for employees who are veterans. Among these efforts is a partnership with the state of California’s Employment Development Department (EDD), under which we help veterans with the health system’s employment process and hiring. Last month, the EDD sponsored a Hire-A-Vet Career Fair, attended by 114 companies and organizations. At the event, our health system was the only organization singled out by the EDD’s veteran’s representative, who praised us for collaborating with his agency to hire veterans at the health system.
Additionally, Human Resources is organizing a new interest group for veteran employees, and has held an initial meeting with some of them. Employees who would like to identify themselves as veterans, or are interested in the Veterans Employee Interest Group, should contact Elaine Nakata at 916-734-5447 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I mentioned, UC Davis Health System supports the health of our armed services members in many ways, and you can read more about them here.
I take enormous pride in our organization’s commitment to provide outstanding care and other services for the members of our military, our veterans and their families. Please join me in showing our gratitude to these brave men and women.
Department of Internal Medicine