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Office of Academic Affiliations


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70th Anniversary of Academic Affiliations

Physican residents"To educate for VA and the Nation" remains one of VA's foundational missions. For 70 years, VA has worked in partnership with professional schools across the country to care for our Nation’s Veterans while training the clinicians who go on to care for all Americans. In fact, about 70% of physicians in the United States have received at least some of their training with VA. Annually, VA provides training for over 120,000 trainees.

The remarkable partnership between VA and our academic affiliates reaches back to the end of World War II. Following the allied victory, VA faced the imminent arrival of over 100,000 new patients. With 98 mostly rural hospitals offering fewer than 84,000 beds and 1,000 physicians, the Agency confronted a crippling lack of resources.

Physician residentsTo meet this challenge, VA struck a landmark deal with medical schools to create a dynamic, talented workforce of students, physician residents, and faculty who provide world class care to our Veterans while providing training to generations of future physicians.

The workforce transformation created through academic affiliations has enabled the VA to be a driving force in health care and education innovation. The VA, with its affiliates, has historically been a leader in developing new disciplines to meet the changing needs of the population. These innovations have benefitted all American citizens and importantly the Veterans. In the 1950’s the VA and its partners were instrumental in the development and accreditation of the clinical discipline of psychology making a vast improvement in both access and quality of care. Then in the mid-1960’s, the VA helped establish recognition of the physician assistant profession bringing a valuable new provider to the table. In the 1970’s the VA understood the special needs of the aging patients and played an integral role in the development of geriatric medicine as a specialty. Hospice and Palliative Care is another discipline nurtured by the VA in the interest of better care. In the 1980’s the VA pioneered the technology to create electronic health records and in a then bold move linked the whole VA system with the Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS) leading the way to the transformation of record keeping in the nation.  

Physican residentsIn the first decade of the new century, the VA has led the development of patient centered care through a team based approach known as “patient aligned care teams” or PACT. In this model every Veteran is placed with a provider and team to receive continuity of care and improved access through traditional visits and nontraditional options like telephone appointments, shared medical appointments and secure email messaging for better access to care and health information. All along the VA has stressed the importance of quality and safety in delivering population based, patient centered healthcare.  Other developing domains like traumatic brain injury are currently important to the VA and its academic affiliates and more will emerge. Building on strong academic partnerships and a commitment to improving care, the future is bright for the educational mission of the VA.


Related Video

  • Robert Jesse, M.D., Chief Officer, VA Office of Academic Affiliations YouTube
  • Karen Sanders, M.D., Deputy Chief Officer, VA Office of Academic Affiliations VAntage Point
  • John Prescott, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges VAntage Point
  • Steve Shannon, D.O., President and CEO, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine VAntage Point
  • Robin Hurley, M.D., Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Academic Affairs Salisbury VA Medical Center VAntage Point
  • Edward Abraham, M.D., Dean, Wake Forest School of Medicine VAntage Point