Special Feature: My Army Medicine Experience
The Tour for Diversity in Medicine and the US Army have a longstanding relationship. The US Army has been a strong supporter of T4D and was one of the first organizations to sign on to sponsor our efforts. During the first T4D, the US Army sent physicians, considered subject matter experts (SMEs), to all five of the educational stops to highlight the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP). The physician SME’s became part of the T4D team, advising students, discussing careers in medicine and in Army medicine.
The US Army invited me to see first hand what exactly is Army medicine. I was invited to and recently attended the Amy Medicine Experiencehosted in San Antonio, TX June 18-20th, 2012. The Medical Recruiting Brigade lead by Col. Raymond Scott Dingle invited a number of health care providers from across the country with a variety of backgrounds ranging from nursing to physical therapy, psychology to medicine and dentistry. We were invited down as Centers of Influence (COIs) as we are all involved in efforts to help students’ transition from college to the health professions.
As a COI, we were given amazing access to what Army medicine is. We toured Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) and met with key leadership of the hospital. BAMC is one of five level-one trauma centers and certified burn centers in the US and the only in the US military. It provides care to soldiers and other military members as well as their families. It also serves a teaching hospital with a number of US Army residency programs housed in BAMC. We were allowed to visit the burn center which provides care not only for the wounded soldiers but also serves the civilian population in South and Central Texas.
One of the most moving experiences was our time at the Center for the Intrepid (CFI). Built entirely out of donations, the CFI provides a safe environment for soldiers as they recover from physical injuries such as burns and amputations, many of which occurred on the battlefield.
This state-of-the-art facility offers not only tradition physical therapy and rehabilitation, but also provides non-traditional care for patients. Their integrated approach to rehabilitations helps soldiers either return to service or transition to life as a civilian.
An added bonus for me was the opportunity to skydive with the US Army Golden Knights. This was a once in a lifetime experience to jump with the best skydivers in the world.
What I will take home from this experience the most is what Army medicine actually is: providing health care to those who protect us and our country. The goal of T4D is to educate, cultivate and inspire future physicians and dentists from diverse backgrounds. While we do not focus on what type of physicians we help develop nor the location of their practice, I think it is important for T4D to help our future colleagues understand what being a physician means and the impact they can have. Becoming a Army health care provider does not mean that you will be cast onto the battlefield and expected to fight. Army health care providers range from pediatricians to surgeons, obstetricians to interns, and dentists to physical therapists. Every field of medicine has a place in Army health care. It means that you will have a chance to provide care for the soldiers who protect us and their families. It means helping a wounded warrior recover from their wounds, be it physical, mental or both. It means service, not only as a health care provider, but to your country.
Please visit www.goarmy.com for more information about careers in the health professions in the US Army or contact us to find out more about scholarship opportunities and loan repayment programs available to you.