Stanford joins initiative to improve veteran medical care

Jan. 17, 2012, 2:10 a.m.

Stanford School of Medicine is one of 130 universities and colleges to sign a pledge promising to devote more of its resources towards improving the health care of military service members and their families, according to a White House press release. First Lady Michelle Obama announced the pledge last Wednesday during a speech at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).


The pledge is formed though a partnership between the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) and Joining Forces. Joining Forces is a national initiative led by Obama and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, with the purpose of “bring[ing] attention to the unique needs and strength of America’s military families,” according to its website.


Participants include 105 medical schools, such as Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and 25 colleges of osteopathic medicine. Those signing the pledge commit to further training their students how to diagnose and treat issues concerning military veterans, especially post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), as well as developing new research and trials for these disorders.


“I’m inspired to see our nation’s medical schools step up to address this pressing need for our veterans and military families,” Obama said during her speech at VCU. “By directing some of our brightest minds, our most cutting-edge research and our finest teaching institutions toward our military families, they’re ensuring that those who have served our country receive the first-rate care that they have earned.”


Obama cited the fact that one sixth of military veterans exhibit signs of PTSD, and that “those of us who have never experienced war will never be able to fully understand the true emotional cost.”


“Because of our integrated missions in education, clinical care and research, America’s medical schools are uniquely positioned to take a leadership role in this important effort,” said Darrell G. Kirch, AAMC president and CEO, in the press release.


— Kurt Chirbas

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