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U of U School of Medicine Joins Forces with First Lady Michelle Obama to Combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury

Members of armed services stand holding swords.

Jan 12, 2012—As part of first lady Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces initiative, the University of Utah School of Medicine has partnered with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) in a commitment to creating a new generation of doctors, medical schools, and research facilities that will make sure wounded U.S. combat forces receive the care worthy of their service.

Recognizing veterans and their families’ sacrifice and commitment, the U medical school has pledged to mobilize its uniquely integrated missions in education, research, and clinical care to train the nation’s physicians to meet the health care needs of veterans and their families, including post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

“We are proud to participate in the White House Joining Forces initiative to address the health care needs of military service members and veterans and their families,” says Wayne M. Samuelson, M.D., vice dean for education at the U medical school. “We are absolutely committed to providing appropriate care to our veterans. We want to show these heroes that their country is there for them, no matter what they’re going through.”

Mrs. Obama and Jill Biden, Ph.D., wife of Vice President Joe Biden, created Joining Forces to bring Americans together to recognize, honor, and take action to support veterans and military families as they serve our country and throughout their lives. The initiative, which now includes 105 medical schools, aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of society to ensure veterans and military families have the support they have earned. The initiative focuses on key priority areas – employment, education, and wellness – while raising awareness about the service, sacrifice, and needs of America’s veterans and military families.

“I’m inspired to see our nation’s medical schools step up to address this pressing need for our veterans and military families,” Obama says. “By directing some of our brightest minds, our most cutting-edge research, and our finest teaching institutions toward our military families, they’re ensuring that those who have served our country receive the first-rate care that they have earned.”

Together, the University of Utah, the AAMC, and AACOM are committing to enriching medical education along its continuum to ensure:

  • Physicians are aware of the unique clinical challenges and best practices associated with caring for this group
  • Develop new research and clinical trials on PTSD and TBI so that we can better understand and treat these conditions
  • Share their information and best practices with each other through a collaborative Web forum created by the AAMC
  • Grow the body of knowledge leading to improvements in health care and wellness for our military service members, veterans, and their families

At the U of U, education to address the problems of injured vets can be adapted to the medical school curricula, according to Samuelson. “It clearly can be part of brain and behavior education, orthopedic surgery, and physical medicine and rehabilitation,” he says.

More information about Joining Forces is available at: