Uniformed physicians must be able to skillfully practice medicine under difficult, often times, extraordinary conditions. At USU, meeting the challenges of military medicine is achieved through several unique measures.
Lessons taking place on historic battlefields, starting IVs in mock warzones and triaging patients in the midst of a simulated mass casualty is part of the curriculum at the Uniformed Services University.
These innovative learning experiences are integrated into the curriculum beginning in the first academic year. They continue throughout all four years and serve as powerful teaching platforms.
First-year medical students gain unique perspectives on the evolution of military medicine during the School's annual march across the Antietam National Battlefield.
Students tread six miles of these storied fields to learn about the bloodiest one-day battle in American history.
USU faculty and Civil War reenactors paint vivid portraits of wartime casualties and bring to life the tales of battlefield medicine.
Students learn about the medical advancements made during this period as well as the obstacles military personnel faced when providing care during these trying times.
Approximately half of the student body enters the USU School of Medicine with no prior service experience. Participating in the field exercise known as Operation Kerkesner equips them with critical military skills.
First-year students receive training in land navigation, hand-to-hand combat, firearms training and use of military vehicles and radios throughout the four-day exercise.
They must also provide care under continually changing circumstances, including starting an IV while "under fire."
Faculty members in the Department of Military and Emergency Medicine rely on more than paper test scores when evaluating student performance. The exam for the Military and Contingency Medicine course takes place on a simulated battlefield.
Assessment covers a broad range of topics from advanced trauma life support to preventive medicine and patient care in flight to military medical ethics.
Students live in field conditions while completing this test. They work in teams, rotating through positions as commanders, executive officers, medical officers and ambulance team leaders.
The event culminates in a dramatic mass casualty exercise. An entire platoon is seriously injured, according to the scenario, and the USU students must triage the wounded while also arranging for their evacuation.