Letters to the Editor
We want to thank Dr. Mathewson-Chapman and Dr. Chapman for echoing the importance of veteran-centered medical education in the U.S. health care system. It ensures that those who have served our country receive optimal care and that providers consider all facets of their patients’ previous life and service during health care delivery.1
We concur with the authors who note that any future reforms in health professions education must include providing contextual content about, exposure to, and experience with our nation’s active duty military and veteran populations.2 Moreover, a contextual understanding of history is not only important for the care of service members but also for the much broader population as it fosters a true patient-centered approach to health care delivery.3
In our work, we stress that the health care concerns that are common to veterans are important to explore across the continuum of medical education, and we have developed curricula that can be implemented in various health professional education settings.4–6 These nascent efforts address numerous gaps within medical education regarding the histories of military conflicts, invisible war wounds, appropriate customer service approaches, and interprofessional communication skills7 that are necessary for taking a thorough military history.
Veteran-centered care has been championed in the United States through the Joining Forces initiative.8 However, more work is needed to prepare trainees to care for an international population as well as welcome internationally trained health professionals to the United States. This pedagogical approach aims to apply, engage, and utilize veteran-centered care principles as a tool to improve the health of all of those we serve, not only veterans.
Paula T. Ross, PhD
Director of advancing scholarship, Office of Medical Student Education, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Monica L. Lypson, MD, MHPE
Director, Medical and Dental Education, Office of Academic Affiliations, Department of Veterans Affairs Central Office, Washington, DC, and adjunct professor of internal medicine and learning health science, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan; firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Lee J, Sanders KM, Cox M. Honoring those who have served: How can health professionals provide optimal care for members of the military, veterans, and their families? Acad Med. 2014;89:1198–1200.
2. Ross PT, Ravindranath D, Clay M, Lypson ML. A greater mission: Understanding military culture as a tool for serving those who have served. J Grad Med Educ. 2015;7:519–522.
3. Meyer E. Developing military cultural competency in health care providers. Acad Med. 2012;87:3.
4. Lypson ML, Ross PT, Zimmerman N, Goldrath KE, Ravindranath D. Where do soldiers really come from? A faculty development workshop on veteran-centered care. Acad Med. 2016;91:1379–1383.
6. Lypson M, Ravindranath D, Ross P. Developing skills in veteran-centered care: Understanding where soldiers really come from. MedEdPORTAL. 2014;10:9818. http://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9818
. Accessed September 7, 2017.
7. Lypson M, Ravindranath D, Ross P, et al. Veteran interactive cases to reinforce service (VICTORS): Standardized patient assessment of veteran-centered care. MedEdPORTAL. 2016;12:10326. http://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10326
. Accessed September 7, 2017.
8. Harmer BM, Huffman J. Answering the joining forces call: Integrating woman veteran care into nursing simulations. Nurse Educ. 2012;37:237–241.