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.