This Month's News
Culturally competent care is "critical" in treating military, veterans
Findings from a new survey of U.S. medical schools highlight the "critical need" for enhanced training of medical students and physicians in providing culturally competent care to military service members and veterans.
Published in a new Analysis in Brief from the Association of American Medical Colleges, the data show that about half of medical schools expose students to post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury topics as they pertain to military service members and veterans (57 percent and 47 percent, respectively). In addition, "about two-thirds of the schools responded that their residents see military service members or veterans with these illnesses during residency training (66 percent and 62 percent, respectively)."
A recent Journal of the American Medical Association commentary, "The Unasked Question," by pediatrician and Vietnam veteran Jeffrey L. Brown, MD, highlights the need for training in military cultural competence:
[Veterans] represent one of every six average-looking adult male (and an increasing number of female) patients. And because they served their country, many are at risk for potentially serious problems that are not being addressed by our medical community. This is not because of indifference, but because of an oversight in training.
Teaching how and why to take a military health history should be added to medical school curricula along with other medical history questions. And military veterans could be considered a "cultural group" when teaching about cultural diversity.
The AMA has joined other medical associations and 130 medical schools to partner in the White House's Joining Forces initiative to help physicians meet the unique health care needs of service members, veterans and their families. Under the initiative, the physician organizations and medical schools are offering educational opportunities to advance diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and post-combat depression.