USF joins forces with First Lady Michelle Obama to combat PTSD and TBI

First Lady mentions USF as example of universities stepping up to care for veterans and their families

Tampa, FL (Jan. 11, 2012) – Today, as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces initiative, the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida (USF), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) committed to creating a new generation of doctors, medical schools, and research facilities that will make sure our heroes receive the care worthy of their service.

Recognizing veterans and their families’ sacrifice and commitment, the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine pledged to mobilize its uniquely integrated missions in education, research, and clinical care to train the nation’s physicians to meet veterans and their families’ unique health care needs, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Dr. Stephen Klasko, dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, was among the deans who pledged to leverage their academic missions to train physicians to meet the unique health care needs of the military and veterans communities.

“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 Dr. Stephen Klasko, CEO of USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine . “USF Health has created a veterans reintegration initiative, including our medical school, partners in physical therapy, nursing and other disciplines and two VA hospitals in Tampa Bay, to serve the heroes who have served our country for so long. Our goal is to show these heroes that their country is there for them, no matter what they’re going through.”

“I’m inspired to see our nation’s medical schools step up to address this pressing need for our veterans and military families. 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,” said First Lady Michelle Obama.

First Lady Michelle Obama announced an initiative of the country’s top medical schools, including USF’s, to ensure care for veterans and their families.

Together, the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the AAMC and AACOM are committing to enriching medical education along its continuum to ensure that 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; and grow the body of knowledge leading to improvements in health care and wellness for our military service members, veterans, and their families.

The University of South Florida is helping create a new generation of integrated comprehensive care for veterans and their families:

• USF is ranked fifth nationwide by Military Times Edge magazine for being veteran friendly and is the only Florida university participating in the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program.

• The USF Health Morsani College of Medicine is affiliated with two major VA Hospitals, including the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital (Tampa, FL), home to one of the five busiest polytrauma centers in the United States. All USF residents and medical students receive part of their training in these VA hospitals.

• The medical director for the new USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation is Dr. John Armstrong, who previously directed medical simulation for the army and has close ties to U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command.

• Many patents held by USF — ranked ninth worldwide among universities for U.S. patents — are based on medical inventions and therapies in such areas as prosthetics, TBI and brain repair.

• USF is planning a first-of-its-kind Center for Veterans Reintegration, led by Retired Marine Corps General Martin Steele and Dr. Paul Sanberg of the Morsani College of Medicine. This interdisciplinary research, education and treatment facility will propel a unique collaboration among the university, the VA system, Department of Defense and private research and educational entities – all of which are part of the building plan.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill 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 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. More information is available at: www.JoiningForces.gov.

– USF Health –

USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group. The University of South Florida is a global research university ranked 34th in federal research expenditures for public universities.