Fifth Annual Joining Forces Wellness Week Highlights Health Care Needs of Veterans, Military Service Members, and Their Families

2016 Marks 70th Anniversary of Partnership Between VA and Academic Medicine

Across the country, medical schools and teaching hospitals are participating in the fifth annual Joining Forces Wellness Week to highlight the unique health care needs of our nation’s veterans, military service members, and their families. In recognition of Veterans Day, the weeklong initiative is part of a broader effort by institutions to participate in the White House Joining Forces initiative.

“As we mark the 70th anniversary of the partnership between academic medicine and the VA, medical schools and teaching hospitals continue to provide care for our nation’s veterans, service members, and their family members,” said Darrell G. Kirch, MD, AAMC president and CEO. “Joining Forces Wellness Week provides an opportunity to demonstrate this work and place more emphasis on training tomorrow’s doctors to care for those who serve and have served, and their families.”

Joining Forces Wellness Week takes place Nov. 7–11. The AAMC, in collaboration with the White House Joining Forces staff and the Center for Deployment Psychology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, will host a free webinar series on the health and wellness of military service members and veterans. The series will feature national experts from medical schools, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and others. Topics include the following:

  • Joining Forces to Address Suicide in Military and Veterans
  • Caring for Caregivers
  • Pain Management―Nuances for the Military and Veteran Patient Population
  • The Deployment Life Cycle of the Military Family: Implications for Health Care Providers
  • What Veterans Want Their Health Care Providers to Know and How Academic Medical Centers Can Contribute

Continuing education (CE) credit for participating in these webinars will be available through PESI, a nonprofit CE organization. In addition to being presented as live webcasts, the series will be archived for future participants to view and earn CE credit.

During the week, many AAMC-member medical schools and teaching hospitals will also host local events to honor veterans and address the health care needs of returning military service members.

The academic medicine community has been supporting the efforts of the nation’s military and veterans for 70 years, since the establishment of partnerships between medical schools and VA hospitals. In keeping with this long-standing commitment, in January 2012, more than 100 medical schools across the country pledged to educate and train the nation’s physicians to meet the health care needs of military service members and their families by deploying their integrated missions in education, research, and clinical care through the Joining Forces initiative. As part of this effort, medical schools are updating curricula, sponsoring research to improve treatments for common injuries, and increasing awareness of military cultural competency.

For more information on Joining Forces, visit

The Association of American Medical Colleges is a not-for-profit association dedicated to transforming health care through innovative medical education, cutting-edge patient care, and groundbreaking medical research. Its members are all 154 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 51 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and more than 80 academic societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC serves the leaders of America’s medical schools and teaching hospitals and their more than 173,000 full-time faculty members, 89,000 medical students, 129,000 resident physicians, and more than 60,000 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the biomedical sciences.