Since the January 2012 announcement of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces Initiative (JFI)—national efforts to ensure that current and future physicians are educated and adequately trained in the unique clinical challenges associated with caring for military service members, and veterans and their families—AACOM continues its support and commitment to the initiative.
AACOM and all of its member colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) across the nation honor our pledge to support this cause within the osteopathic medical community. Several of the nation’s COMs demonstrate their commitment to the ideals outlined in JFI through their continued devotion to research, education and clinical care agendas focused on addressing military service members’ needs.
AACOM’s ongoing commitment entails coordination among its member colleges, osteopathic professional members, groups and councils, and allied health organizations – namely the COSGP and AACOM Joint Advocacy Initiative.
Recently, AACOM’s national Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP) partnered with CrossFit and the Wounded Warrior Project to launch a new and noteworthy program—DO4U: Reps for Vets. On January 16-18, during its annual Winter Business Meeting at the Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM), COSGP launched the first “DO4U: Reps 4 Vets CrossFit Challenge” at the CrossFit007 gym in Lillington, NC.
Through these partnerships and the participation of meeting attendees, COSGP was able to make a substantial donation to the Wounded Warrior Project. In addition, these efforts align with the JFI pledge to raise awareness for this important cause (see news coverage of the event).
The highlight of the event was Captain Ivan Castro, who discussed the significance of military medicine. Castro, a CUSOM alumnus and active Special Forces Fort Bragg soldier, lost his vision while serving in Iraq in 2006.
As a wounded warrior, he reflected on the healthcare he has received, and the importance for physicians to understand and apply the various individual and background factors that influence care for active military and veterans to the care of veterans and military patients. His experience in receiving healthcare as a wounded warrior is what motivated him to speak at the meeting, in order to provide valuable insight to our nation’s future physicians and leaders in the osteopathic medical profession.
John Bunyasaranand, 2nd Lieutenant U.S. Army and second-year medical student at CUSOM, said of the event, “Reps4Vets was an important opportunity to educate future doctors on the sacrifices, struggles, and abilities of our wounded warrior population to overcome hardship. By having these experiences, they can better communicate, relate to, and treat this patient population that has given so much.”
For more information and updates on AACOM’s Joining Forces activities and progress, visit AACOM’s Joining Forces web page.