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UTHealth addresses military veterans’ health care needs

Institution Renews Commitment to Returning Heroes, Families

HOUSTON – (Nov. 12,  2012)In recognition of Veterans Day, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) is proud to participate in  the national Joining Forces initiative to heighten awareness about the health needs of the nation’s veterans, service members and families, and elevate the role that medical schools, nursing schools and teaching hospitals play in serving this community.

Joining Forces was established by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to mobilize all sectors of society to give service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.

“We are honored to participate in the White House Joining Forces initiative to address the health care needs of military service members and veterans and their families,” said Giuseppe Colasurdo, M.D., president of UTHealth. “At our Medical School and School of Nursing, we are creating educational programs and volunteer opportunities to serve those who have served our country for so long. Our goal is to show these brave men and women that their country is there for them, no matter what they’re going through.”

UTHealth has joined hundreds of other medical schools and nursing schools in a pledge to help the next generation of doctors and researchers ensure that returning veterans receive the care worthy of their service. Participating institutions are educating and training the nation’s physicians to meet the unique health care needs of veterans and their families.

“We have a whole generation of people coming back from the war, and we need to make sure we are addressing their health care needs,” said COL John Holcomb, M.D., who served as a United States Army Colonel prior to joining the UTHealth faculty as vice chair, professor and chief of the Division of Acute Care Surgery.

At the UTHealth Medical School, physicians are developing curricula related to the unique health care needs of veterans and their families. They also are conducting research on post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma to improve care for both soldiers and civilians. At the UTHealth School of Nursing, faculty, students and staff are helping military families by volunteering at Fisher House Houston.

"We are pleased to be a part of this effort and are looking at ways we can ensure that our students are prepared to meet the emerging needs of this special group of citizens,” said UTHealth School of Nursing Dean Patricia L. Starck, D.S.N., R.N., FAAN.  “We have a school committee developing a full-fledged plan of activities that all employees of the school can participate in, making a contribution to assist our veterans and their families.”

In addition to Joining Forces, UTHealth is a leading participant in the Texas Medical Center Hiring: Red, White and You initiative. Korean War veteran James H. “Red” Duke, Jr., M.D., and Holcomb are the founding members of the veterans hiring initiative and trauma surgeons at UTHealth and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.

Since the beginning of 2012, UTHealth has recruited close to 60 military veterans for positions at its six schools and in central administration and continues to accept applications. UTHealth will be among the institutions at a veterans hiring event on Thursday, Nov. 15 at Reliant Center.

Meredith Raine
Media Contact: 713-500-3030