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Graduate Medical Education Specialty Night Draws Nationwide Participation

People in military dress uniform talking
By Sharon Holland

Medical residency and fellowship program directors, specialty leaders and department chairs from throughout the Military Health System converged on Uniformed Services University for the annual Graduate Medical Education Specialty Night November 27.

More than 132 GME faculty from the Army, Navy, Air Force and USU, representing 23 different sites and 37 post-graduate training programs set up displays to “sell their wares” to medical students trying to decide which specialty direction to pursue. Representatives came from as far away as Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, to try and recruit the best and the brightest to their programs.

people in military uniform talking
USU medical student Army 2nd Lt. Berish Wetstein (left) and Air
Force Col. (Dr.) Matt Ritter (right), associate professor and vice chair
for Education in USU’s Department of Surgery and director of
Simulation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, discuss
surgical residency training options during USU’s annual GME
Specialty Night. (Photo by Sarah Marshall)
USU has hosted GME Specialty Night, organized by its Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society chapter, for many years.

“This event provides a valuable opportunity for medical students at all levels to learn more about different residency training programs offered by the military as well as meet leaders in military medicine,” said Dr. Joseph Lopreiato, associate dean for Simulation at USU, and faculty sponsor for GME Specialty Night.

Nearly 300 students from 18 states participated in the event, including 137 USU medical students and 157 from the military’s Health Professions Scholarship Program.

Air Force 2nd Lt. Jacob Altholz, a second-year medical student in USU’s F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine, attended the event to do some networking and get the latest information on certain programs.

“The event is an awesome chance for students to see programs they didn't know existed or to get answers they've been seeking about each specialty. It also gives them a chance to consider choices they either didn't know they had or didn't take seriously before. It sort of ‘puts things on their radar,’” Altholz said. “I've known about the program I'm interested for some time, but going was a good chance to have face time, get updated about the program, and see how it's changed over time. I'm interested in the operational residency programs in the Air Force which are very unique and so these sorts of events are a great chance to meet people and get information I couldn't get otherwise.”

a student in a suit talking to someone in military uniform
Navy Ens. Vaughan Land (left), a Health Professions Scholarship Program student at Eastern Virginia Medical School, talks to Navy Lt. Cmdr. (Dr.) Christopher Johnson (right), about Otolaryngology residency program opportunities at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. (Photo by Sarah Marshall)

Navy Capt. (Dr.) Nathan Almond, a 2000 graduate of the Hébert School of Medicine, flew in from Florida for Specialty Night. Almond, the program director for the Aerospace Medicine residency program at the Navy Medicine Operational Training Center in Pensacola, said he looks forward to coming back to USU in search of students interested in his field.

“I came to USU for this event to meet medical students who are wondering about the different career paths in military medicine and to provide information about, and enthusiasm for, the opportunities in aerospace medicine and flight surgery,” Almond said.

“This is a very tangible way that USU supports military medical students (ours and HPSP) and military GME overall,” said School of Medicine dean Dr. Arthur L. Kellermann. “We are one team, with a shared mission.”