Today, March 19, marks a key milestone in a new physician’s career: Match Day. This is when medical students learn where they will begin their residencies. VA congratulates the class of 2021. These students will fill over 34,000 positions and spend the next 3 to 7 years training in the specialty of their choice.

Veterans will see many of these newly minted residents as clinical trainees at their local VA medical center.

VA is the nation’s largest education and training platform for health professionals. It trains nearly 70% of all U.S. physicians at some point in their careers. When Veterans seek health care at a VA facility, they are likely to be treated by at least one of the nearly 75,000 medical students and residents who rotate through VA each year.

In the future, this number will include some of the students whom we celebrate today as they complete graduate medical education at VA.

Pictured above, Dr. Ryan Scilla, acting associate chief of staff, Education, at VA Maryland Health Care System, explains patient symptoms to residents.

75 years supporting the passion to learn

Over the past 75 years, VA has built enduring partnerships with academic institutions across the country. That includes 97% of U.S. medical schools that educate trainees and provide world-class care for Veterans.

Approximately 70% of U.S. physicians complete training in VA.

Read VA’s 75-year partnership with America’s medical schools to learn how these partnerships began.

These unique collaborations with the nation’s medical schools foster a passion to learn across VA. Working alongside VA’s world-class clinicians and researchers, trainees gain valuable skills and insight into Veterans’ unique health issues while training in interprofessional teams to address the whole Veteran.

At the same time, they develop a deeper understanding of the noble sacrifice Veterans have made. It is a wonderful collaboration to have trainees and Veterans interacting and learning from one another.

Dr. Sandie Marshall is chief of staff for the VA Maryland Healthcare System. Reflecting on how VA shapes trainees, Marshall says, “VA has a tremendous impact on shaping the lives of physicians who go out to practice – whether it is in the community or they stay at VA or in private practice at the academic affiliate.”

Trainees participate in telemedicine technology

As the nation’s largest integrated health care system, VA provides trainees with cutting-edge training in the latest evidence-based treatments and practices to help patients heal. This includes working in simulation labs and treating patients with novel techniques and therapies.

Most recently, telemedicine became an increasingly important way for Veterans to receive care from their providers. This is particularly true with the COVID-19 health crisis. VA, as a leader in telemedicine, removed barriers so that trainees could participate more fully in telemedicine technology, expanding their knowledge and ability to care for remote patients.

Such vital experience prepares trainees for success now and in their future careers.

Congratulations and hope to see you soon

The Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA) oversees VA’s health professions training programs, and all of VA congratulates medical students on their achievement. We look forward to welcoming these future physicians as they train at VA.

Find out more about VHA’s academic mission and anniversary by watching OAA’s Passion to Learn. Power to Heal video and visiting the Office of Academic Affiliations’ recently updated website.

Kim Medland is a writer for Aptive Resources.

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