Ohio State University opens nursing training program to treat military members

Ohio State University launched a program late last year to better coordinate care for military personnel with complex combat injuries.

The program, which is based at the university’s Wexner Medical Center and Ohio State School of Medicine in Columbus, has been underway for more than two years, said peripheral neurosurgeon Dr. Amy Moore, chair of the university’s Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Wexner Medical Center.

The vision of the Military Medicine Program is twofold: to provide multidisciplinary and specialized care for service members—such as advanced neurosurgery, reconstruction and rehabilitation for amputees—and to provide programs to train military surgeons.

This becomes critical because the military has Demonstrated improved survival Accompanied by increasingly severe combat trauma.

“Our military personnel are surviving more than ever,” Moore said, but more troops are also suffering combat injuries, such as lacerated limbs and damaged nerves. Her research, funded by the Department of Defense, focuses on improving nerve regeneration and nerve pain after trauma.

Ohio State’s military medicine program includes peripheral neurosurgeons, microsurgeons, neuroplastic surgeons, plastic surgeons, reconstructive surgeons, and rehabilitation professionals. Wexner Medical Center accepts Tricare, the military’s health insurance plan.

“It’s a really good idea to identify (military personnel) as a unique population,” said Jeff Goldsmith, founder and president of consulting firm Health Futures. “They do have unique needs.”

Caregivers and veterans require interdisciplinary coordination, including rehabilitation and counseling, said Dr. Kevin Vigilante, chief medical officer and executive vice president of consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. “It’s a specialized field of medicine,” he said.

Ohio State’s first step was to hire a patient navigator to work with military hospitals such as Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to refer patients. Ohio State also conducts outreach with nonprofits focused on veterans and VA facilities.

The program also seeks charitable funding to pay for things like housing and travel for patients in need, said Dr. Jason Sousa, a Navy physician recruited by Wexner Medical Center from Walter Reed. Souza joined in September as Director of the Plastic Reconstruction Program and Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery.

Ohio State’s vision for the military medicine program is to align with and support the military health system, not replace it, Souza said.

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