VCOM 2022 Annual Report

Preparing Globally and Community Focused Physicians

VCOM and Our Military

By Mark Sanders, JD, MPH, LLM, MS, FACOFP Louisiana Campus Dean

The Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) U.S. Military branches offer a service scholarship to medical school students who desire to serve their country as physicians. If accepted, students receive full coverage of all tuition/fee charges, a monthly stipend and reimbursement of health insurance costs and other related school expenses. After graduation, the physicians repay the scholarship by working one year in the branch of service they were accepted into for each year they received the scholarship. (Additional minimum service obligations may apply). VCOM graduates include on average 35 to 50 physicians who enter military service each year. Partnering with SOUTHCOM In February 2022, VCOM signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to partner with the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) to support bringing much-needed humanitarian medical care to populations in remote areas and in areas of most need in the Latin American and Caribbean regions. SOUTHCOM Command Surgeon Navy Capt. Christine L. Sears noted that VCOM’s permanent medical teaching clinics in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and El Salvador demonstrate VCOM’s commitment to global health and community-based medicine and align well with SOUTHCOM’s Enduring Promise initiative to serve and support its partners in the region.

Serving Aboard the USNS Comfort The USNS Comfort is a 1,000 bed hospital ship out of Norfolk, Virginia, commissioned in 1986. Along with USNS Mercy, Comfort provides floating, mobile, acute surgical medical facilities when called upon for the U.S. military, and hospital services to support U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide. Third- and fourth-year HPSP military students from VCOM have already started participating in one-week outreach trips aboard the Comfort, along with active military or veteran physician faculty members from the College. VCOM affiliated international clinic directors will join the Comfort outreach efforts when in Honduras or the Dominican Republic, to provide in-country support and collaboration. During these trips, VCOM students and doctors live on the ship, disembarking with Comfort doctors to land-based clinics where they have the capacity to serve 500-1000 patients. Students may have the chance to assist and participate in on-board patient surgeries. Serving on the USNS Comfort, VCOM military students participate in humanitarian outreach in Latin American and Caribbean regions.


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