On behalf of the Congressional Academic Medicine Caucus (CAMC), the AAMC hosted a June 20 congressional briefing titled VA and Academic Medicine: Partnering for Veterans’ Health. The briefing highlighted the role of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) affiliated medical schools and teaching hospitals across their three shared missions of patient care, education, and research, as well as how these partnerships ultimately benefit veterans and all Americans.
House Committee on Veterans Affairs Chair Rep. Phil Roe, MD, (R-Tenn.), who also co-chairs the CAMC and the GOP Doctors Caucus, provided opening remarks, opining, “The VA has seen a lot of changes since I left medical school.” Dr. Roe, who attended the James H. Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University, a medical school created with federal support in conjunction with VA, highlighted administrative demands on physicians, and the need to “clear the field and bring the joy back into medicine.”
The session was moderated by AAMC Chief Public Policy Officer Karen Fisher, JD, and featured VA Deputy Chief Academic Affiliations Officer Karen Sanders, MD, and AAMC Chief Academic Affairs Officer John Prescott, MD, as speakers. “You can’t tell us apart,” Dr. Sanders said describing the seamless overlap of VA and academic affiliate staff, trainees, programs, and research.
Doctors Sanders and Prescott outlined how the 70-year partnerships have improved Veteran’s health care, including:
- Improved access to complex specialized care at the nation’s leading teaching hospitals;
- A history of ground-breaking veteran-centric research advancements; and
- Developing the clinical and cultural competence of the next generation of physicians who will care for veterans both inside and outside the VA system.
Ms. Fisher and the panelists also discussed recommendations to build on past success, including expanding VA graduate medical education, increased funding for the VA research program, streamlining clinical contracting, and ensuring the relationships are maintained in upcoming VA health reform legislation.