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Fort Hood, Texas A&M Give Students Military Medicine Experience

Paramedics and emergency department staff rush in a volunteer patient for a simulated trauma case at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, Feb. 6, 2016. (U.S. Army photo/Fort Hood Public Affairs)
Paramedics and emergency department staff rush in a volunteer patient for a simulated trauma case at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, Feb. 6, 2016. (U.S. Army photo/Fort Hood Public Affairs)

Fort Hood and Texas A&M University announced a new partnership Wednesday that will place medical students at the front line of Army medicine for a unique training experience.

Under the agreement, about 60 medical students per year, beginning this fall, will get the chance to learn from Army doctors at the newly expanded Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, which reopened last year in a state-of-the-art, $560 million facility. At nearly a million square feet, the hospital serves one of the military's busiest deployment hubs as well as serving more than 100,000 family members and retirees.

Col. Mark W. Thompson, commander of the medical center, said the agreement would enhance the care delivered at Fort Hood.

"The education opportunities are mutually beneficial," Thompson said. "Not only does teaching medical students challenge our physicians to stay at the top of their game, being in a military medical environment allows medical students the chance to sharpen their critical thinking and communication skills."

With Army physicians and medical center staffers serving as teaching faculty, College of Medicine students will take part in yearly rotations in areas like emergency medicine, psychiatry and surgery.

The College of Medicine was created 40 years ago to meet the needs of medically underserved populations, specifically retired service members and rural residents. The college has campuses across Texas, including one in Round Rock.

"Medical and military service are two of the most meaningful ways an American can serve their fellow citizens," said Dr. Carrie Byington, dean of the Texas A&M College of medicine and senior vice president of the Texas A&M University Health Science Center. "We encourage our students to learn about the special health needs of a variety of populations. A re-emphasis on military medicine brings our focus back to our charter."

A&M University President Michael Young said the partnership is a "perfect fit" given the school's 140-year heritage of military service: "We look forward to serving soldiers and their families at Fort Hood, as well as veterans in the surrounding Killeen area."

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