For almost 60 years, VA has worked in partnerships with affiliated academic institutions to provide high quality health care to America’s Veterans and to train new health professionals to meet the patient care needs within VA and the nation.

Overton Brooks VA in Shreveport is one of VA’s many teaching hospitals. This partnership has grown into the most comprehensive academic health system partnership in history.

Man washing his hands

Scrubbing 780 times a year

“VA training programs are an integral part of the Graduate Medical Education system that trains the next generation of medical professionals to care for both Veterans and civilians,” said Dr. Miles Alan Sugar. “I am one of the 70% of American physicians who trained at a VA medical center. That experience is what brought me back to practice here at Overton Brooks.”

“This experience will make me a better health care provider.”

Sugar, who graduated with honors from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in 2011, recently began mentoring Jessica Elliot, a third-year student from the university.

“Learning from such a skilled vascular surgeon is invaluable,” said Elliot. “I’m learning everything from the fact that he may scrub his hands on average 780 times a year to observing a two- to three-hour angioplasty procedure. Most definitely, this experience will make me a better health care provider.”

Dr. Sugar offered guidance on how to not be his patient. “Number one thing to do is don’t smoke. The rest of it is what your heart doctor would tell you. Aspirin every day, health eating, exercise and blood pressure control is good. Cholesterol is bad.”

Thousands of trainees received training at VA through partnerships

In 2018, 120,890 trainees received some or all of their clinical training in VA medical facilities. VA’s physician education program is conducted in collaboration with 144 of 152 medical schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education and all 34 medical schools accredited by the American Osteopathic Association.

In addition, more than 40 other health professions are represented by affiliations with over 1,800 unique colleges and universities. Among these institutions are Minority Serving Institutions, such as Hispanic Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

By Phillip Butterfield

Public affairs specialist, Overton Brook VA Medical Center

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Published on Sep. 5, 2022

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