Dr. Karen Sanders, a long-time VA physician and deputy director of the department’s Office of Academic Affiliations, plays a large role in how the partnerships between VA and the nation’s medical school have developed and served Veterans for more than 30 years.

“The VA has a huge training mission right now,” Sanders explains in the video above.  Through the Office of Academic Affiliations, VA operates the largest largest health professions education program in the United States, including nearly 120,000 trainees annually in more than 40 different health professions.

Sanders’ first experience at the VA was as a medical student and it was an experience that changed her life.

“I walked into the VA in Providence, Rhode Island,” Sanders recalled. “They handed me a stack of cards, like 20 cards, and said ‘These are your patients, Doctor.’  That’s how I started in the VA. And here I am 30 some odd years later.  I was hooked.  I was hooked on Veterans. I was hooked on the VA system. I was hooked on the care we provided. I was hooked on the ability to teach and train and do research.”

VA’s academic affiliations strengthen VA’s healthcare systems, provide training for the nation’s healthcare workforce, and prepare many for healthcare careers. VA’s Office of Academic Affiliations continues to maintain and expand close relationships with institutions of higher learning to provide advanced clinical training in physician education, nursing, dentistry, psychology, social work, optometry, dietetics and nearly 40 other health care professions.

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Published on Oct. 17, 2015

Estimated reading time is 1.2 min.

Views to date: 94


  1. Peedee Wyre October 25, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    *I meant UCSF, not USF*

  2. peedee wyre October 23, 2015 at 12:30 am

    As a NorCal VA patient since early ’06 for all my healthcare, I’ve also received chemotherapy since early ’11 for Agent Orange (non-Hodgkins lymphoma)(diagnosed 42 years after my ’68-’69 tour in the Mekong Delta) and have enjoyed (!!!) the expertise of VA doctors and interns from Stanford at the Palo Alto VA campus, from USF at the iconic Fort Miley/ San Francisco VA, from UCDavis at the Sacramento VA, etc., as well as students from medical vocation schools. That, and the wide range of diagnostic and specialist practitioners and cutting-edge ‘scans and nuclear medicine, as well as chemotherapy, a subject near and dear to my heart: my brother died from the same cancer 18 years after his ’66-’67 tour near Danang. High praise and kudos to President Obama for having appointed General Shinseki and now Secretary McDonald to head the VA. And many common-sense high-5s for the covered parking lots with those humongous solar panels and the many rooftop solar and the geo-heat pump HVAC upgrades. But most of all the PEOPLE at the VA healthcare facilities, over half of whom are Veterans. My Primary doctor is an angel as are the Hæmatology/ Oncology doctor and nurses.
    Many/ most civilians may not have the same picture of the VA as I do, fortunate that I am to live in an area of well-run VA facilities such as what I enjoy in the NorCal/ Bay Area. As someone who had employer-provided healthcare, mostly Kaiser, or being self -insured (a/k/a young and dumb), I can say in all sincerity that ALL Americans would be so fortunate to receive the respectful care that I have received the past 6-1/2 years from “my” VA.

  3. Carole Ray October 22, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    For Veterans suffering from Borderline personality disorder, the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Healthcare System as a ROCK STAR for a Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Dr. APRIL Foreman! She has changed my life. I have suffered with BPD for a long time. Add Ptsd and you have a very fragile veteran, even though I am tough as nails, i have been in denial about my abuse for years. It is finally through the selflessness of this doctor that I am finally able to see that i don’t have to suffer senseless pain. She is offering DBT THERAPY through the VA. Through her connections i also get FREE equine therapy. It is not easy because the emotional pain is brought to the surface. We gradually work through this pain. My emotional pain is now manifesting itself physically so i am constantly in pain. The Pain Management and Rehab clinic of the outpatient clinic is now offering acupuncture so i get it with some physical therapy too. This is the first time in ten years of being in the system that the system is actually working. I want to kiss the feet of who ever it was that hired DR. APRIL FOREMAN!

  4. e.e.kurtock October 18, 2015 at 9:01 am

    One more task to eliminate false claims with or w/o medical records along with the approval board at the Veterans administration is “your history in a drop of blood”!

    A blood sample can now revealed/record of viruses you’ve had through out ones life..It’s called VIRSCAN…I would assume this is in place for eliminating the mass of claims or guess what’s dogging down approvals/rejections!!

    Thank you all for your attention…Ernest Kurtock……..A Cold War/Korean era veteran of the forgotten wars by most..

  5. JACK L. HATCHITT October 17, 2015 at 4:19 pm


  6. DannyG October 17, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks to Mr. McKinnon for this article, & to Dr. Sanders forvher many years of dedication to America’s Veterans! We are not always easy to get along with! When I worked at the VA, I had to remind a couple of vets that they weren’t the only ones with PTSD, & that it was NO excuse for yelling at me! THANK YOU!

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