Medical education graduates face changing Army
WBAMC Public Affairs:
War brings change – not just on the battlefield, but also in military hospitals.
“Managing change, driving change is what you will all be doing,” said retired Maj. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, guest speaker at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center Graduate Medical Education Program graduation ceremony Saturday. “Our [Army Medical Department, or] AMEDD and our Army have been in change over a very long 10-year war.”
Surrounded by decommissioned tanks and relics of the Army’s history at the Fort Bliss and Old Ironsides Museums, 24 interns and 14 residents graduated from the GME program.
After completing four years of medical school, physicians must complete an internship and then a residency. Internships typically last one year and residencies can last between three to seven years depending on the medical specialty.
“In many respects you enter into a much different AMEDD and a much different Army with a much different mission as a practitioner of clinical health skills,” said Kiley, now associate professor and chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Albany Medical College and chief of obstetrics services at Albany Medical Center.
Today Army surgeons and doctors combat problems on the battlefield and in the operating rooms.
“They’re fascinating surgeries,” said Capt. Ronald Newcomb, distinguished graduate of the WBAMC’s orthopedic surgery internship program. “It’s about being able to fix the biomechanics of the bone and help people. … People can walk again without pain.”
This year’s graduating class of residents from orthopedic surgery at WBAMC published 35 research articles, which is an impressive and record-setting number, said Lt. Col. Philip Belmont, director of the orthopedic surgery residency program.
And from increased deployment tempos to realignment and movements of units, the booming growth at Fort Bliss created a new scene for learning Army medicine.
“We had an increased case load especially with 1st Armored Division,” said Maj. Luke Hofmann, distinguished graduate of the general surgery residency program. “It provided us with the skills we need as general surgeons.”
WBAMC also provided interesting cases for graduates of the internal medicine program.
“There were a lot of unusual things we see here being on the border [with Mexico],” said Capt. Vanya Wagler, distinguished graduate from the internal medicine residency program.
As a resident he helped to tackle a case of coccidioidomycosis – commonly a fungal infection of the lungs – which in one patient had infected a knee joint.
WBAMC graduates will continue to their next duty stations around the world in Germany, South Korea and stateside at posts including Fort Polk, La., Fort Campbell, Ky., and Fort Riley, Kan.
Kiley reminded graduates to keep the Army culture in mind as they progress through their careers.
“It is very important that you know and feel in your heart that you have been and are serving a grateful nation,” Kiley said.
The retired general ended his remarks with a quote from former chief of staff Gen. Craigton Abrams:
“What America needs it cannot buy. It needs men and women who see service to their nation as an affair of the heart.”
“You are those men and women,” Kiley said.
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