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AACOM Announces Participation in New White House-Sponsored Joining Forces Initiative


January 11, 2012

Wendy Fernando
Vice President for Communications and Marketing
Phone: 301-968-4174
E-mail: wfernando@aacom.org

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) is proud to formally announce its commitment to a new White House Joining Forces initiative to meet the urgent health care needs of military service members and veterans and their families. AACOM and all of the nation's 26 colleges of osteopathic medicine and four branch campuses, along with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the majority of its member medical colleges, have pledged their support to this important effort.

AACOM believes that with some 70 percent of veterans receiving their health care outside of the Veterans Administration, it is incumbent upon all medical schools to ensure that graduating physicians have the medical and cultural competencies they need to effectively deliver health care to our nation’s large number of military service members and veterans and their families.

Joining Forces Events:

  • On Tuesday, January 10, 2012, representatives from participating organizations attended an introduction to the initiative at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The event featured brief presentations on psychological issues, traumatic stress and brain injury, followed by a tour of the facility.
  • Later in the day, the White House hosted a Joining Forces Roundtable entitled, “Meeting the Neurological and Psychological Needs of Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families.” First Lady Michelle Obama, along with members of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Defense; AACOM President Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH; and the leaders of other participating health professions organizations (including the American Osteopathic Association) attended the event and discussed their respective commitments to the initiative.
  • On Wednesday, January 11, First Lady Michelle Obama announced this major initiative at a special event on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). AACOM President Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, and seven osteopathic medical school deans joined AAMC leadership and college deans at the event, which also welcomed 200 troops from nearby Fort Lee and dozens of VCU faculty and students.

AACOM’s Joining Forces efforts will focus on the following goals:

  • Aspire to educate every future physician on how to recognize and treat PTSD, TBI and post-combat depression.
  • Partner with other public and private organizations to share educational and training resources.
  • Make veteran care a core issue at the 2013 Annual Meeting.
  • Develop or highlight existing educational and referral resources in a prominent manner on the association’s website.
  • Use technology to connect experienced professionals in osteopathic medical education with those who have not been trained or educated on PTSD/TBI or post-combat depression recognition/treatment regimens.

Additional Information

View AACOM’s Joining Forces web page to learn more about the association’s progress and plans.

View the White House Joining Forces Initiative website.

Quote from Dr. Stephen C. Shannon, 
President and CEO, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

“A central component of the White House Joining Forces Initiative is wellness, and I am pleased to announce AACOM’s participation in a new Joining Forces effort that could have a significant impact on the health and well-being of our nation’s veterans.”

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