Wilford Hall will be the new site for medical education

Texas A&M, 59th Medical Wing partner for medical education

The U.S. Air Force and Texas A&M formalize partnership to establish the Air Force’s 59th Medical Wing as a clinical training site for medical students
May 16, 2018

The U.S. Air Force and Texas A&M University Health Science Center formalized a partnership today to establish the Air Force’s 59th Medical Wing as a clinical training site for Texas A&M College of Medicine students. This collaboration will provide education and training to second-, third- and fourth-year Texas A&M medical students and will lead to even better health care for our nation’s active-duty armed forces, veterans and their families. 

“Since 1876, Texas A&M has been supporting the U.S. military and everyone who serves in it,” said John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. “The Health Science Center’s partnership announced today with the Air Force’s 59th Medical Wing proves that our military tradition is as strong as ever.”

Texas A&M’s unique medical education model provides students the opportunity to complete rotations with key affiliates across the state in a variety of clinical settings ranging from rural and community clinics to specialty hospitals and major, urban health systems. Partnerships like this one signed today allow the college to continue diversifying clinical opportunities for medical students. 

The agreement includes clinical elective rotations in ophthalmology, cardiology, dermatology, mental health, pediatrics, radiology, and internal medicine, in addition to an ambulatory surgical center rotation. 

Headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, the 59th Medical Wing is the U.S. Air Force’s premier health care, medical education/research and readiness wing. With multiple treatment facilities across San Antonio, more than 240,000 patients receive care from the Air Force’s largest medical wing. The 59th Medical Wing’s Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center is the Department of Defense’s largest outpatient medical center, with 19 primary care clinics and more than 100 specialty services. 

“Texas A&M University has a long history of academic excellence, groundbreaking innovation, and unwavering support to our nation’s armed forces.  Consequently, the 59th Medical Wing is honored to be one of this legendary institution’s partners,” said Maj. Gen. Bart O. Iddins, commander of the 59th Medical wing. “The signed training affiliation agreement enables a synergistic relationship that will improve the delivery of high-quality healthcare while bolstering the Military Health System’s readiness for combat operations, other contingencies, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief operations.”

Texas A&M’s College of Medicine was created by the Teague-Cranston Act to meet the needs of the medically underserved areas of the country—namely retired service members and rural community members. The college is recommitting to its charter while simultaneously refocusing other key areas of impact to capitalize on three priorities: rural population health, engineering medicine and military medicine.

“This partnership superbly aligns with Texas A&M’s goals, missions and core values,” said Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young. “It further solidifies our institution’s unwavering support of retired and active members of the military. Improving health care for Texas military families as well as citizens in underserved rural areas are cornerstones of our mission to have a positive impact on the state. The benefits to our medical students will be extraordinary; joining with the largest medical wing of the Air Force will give them invaluable, transformational learning experiences in diverse settings. And our shared commitment to research is fertile ground for discoveries and innovations that will improve health and wellness in Texas and beyond.”

Not only will this agreement strengthen future physicians, but with complementary medical research missions, Texas A&M and the 59th Medical Wing will explore collaborative research projects in the basic sciences, psychiatry and engineering medicine.

“This announcement with the 59th Medical Wing comes nearly a year after our strengthened agreement with Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood and is a great opportunity to expand upon and diversify our commitment to military health,” said Carrie L. Byington, MD, dean of the Texas A&M College of Medicine, senior vice president of Texas A&M University Health Science Center, and vice chancellor for health services at The Texas A&M University System. “We believe that by serving those who serve our country, through education, research and service, we can elevate medical care across all populations.”

Rotations will begin in September and 59th Medical Wing staff members will serve as the program’s teaching faculty. 

“We in the 59th Medical Wing look forward to Texas A&M joining our team of military and civilian partners in medical education who share a commitment to improving military health,” said Col. Mark True, director of medical education at the 59th Medical Wing.

— Holly Shive

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