During the past 10 years, SMCAF has engaged in numerous issues important to the continued health and development of the Military Health System. The major accomplishments are as follows:
1. Representation of Military Medicine on the Health Care Committee of The Military Coalition (TMC). TMC is comprised of 35 organizations representing more than 5.5 million members of the uniformed services-active, reserve, retired, survivors, veterans—and their families. Thru advocacy at all levels of government they have been instrumental in influencing legislation to benefit all members of their coalition. While benefits in general are their focus, SMCAF has articulated the importance of maintaining the integrity of the Direct Care System, and the importance of Graduate Medical Education (GME) in that effort. TMC has been directly involved in the President’s Tasks Force on Health Care, with input supplied by the Health Care Committee.
2. SMCAF has represented Military Medicine at the AMA and National Medical Veterans Society (NMVS) during the period of time when advocacy for physician bonuses was critical to the success of those efforts. Also during this period, various government officials proposed the closure of USUHS. Direct involvement of the AMA and NMVS with elected officials assisted in forestalling that possibility.
3. Dr. Ken Swan, a noted SMCAF member, with others has published a series of 4 articles in Military Medicine, from 1997-2008 entitled “Don’t Know-Don’t Care”. In these studies involving east coast and midwest medical school medical students, he documented the lack of knowledge and interest in military medicine, and the available programs and financial resources available to assist students in need. The authors also recommended programs to improve these attitudes for the future.
4. At the suggestion of the Surgeons General, SMCAF has established a nationwide network of SMCAF members to assist the Service Recruiters. This network consists of 6 Regions, with designated Nodes, and designated member coverage for each state. The function of SMCAF members is to assist in answering professional questions and espousing the advantages of a career in Military Medicine. Educational materials regarding existing programs have been supplied to all designated members.
5. A distinguished panel in the mid-1980s recommended the development of a “military unique GME curriculum. SMCAF assisted in recommending elements and evaluating that effort, resulting in a structured curriculum designed to prepare graduating residents with the knowledge and tools needed to “hit the ground running” when they start their initial clinical duty assignment.
6. In the past several years, SMCAF members, notably Dr. Harold Koenig, were instrumental in effecting significant improvements in the benefits package now offered to incoming medical school students utilizing the military’s Health Professionals Scholarship Program (HPSP) and for civilian residents using its Financial Aid Program (FAP). In addition SMCAF influenced a recent “fix” of HPSP and USUHS student pay inequities, allowing for “Save Pay” for those with prior military service. These improvements will help attract more and higher caliber applicants to our military medical school programs.
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