The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the Defense Health Agency (DHA) signed an official Educational Partnership Agreement on May 18. The agreement will facilitate collaborations between military personnel and CU, including joint research, internships and ongoing relationships with DHA experts.
The signing ceremony, which took place in the Anschutz Health and Sciences Building, hosted key leadership in the development of this first-of-its-kind agreement at CU. The partnership will also allow CU researchers access to DHA laboratories, data and patient files.
The university is eager to provide experience and membership for future research leaders and residents within the Department of Defense (DOD). “This agreement allows CU and the DOD to learn from each other,” said Vik Bebarta, MD, professor of emergency medicine at the CU School of Medicine and director of the Center for COMBAT Research. “We can help train their future team members, and the partnership will allow us to better understand their needs, and together we can collaborate to develop a health agency for their future battlespace that meets healthcare needs.”
Dean: enhancing a similar mission
As part of the agreement, CU will assess the needs for scientist mentoring among military-embedded biomedical workforce in DHA Centers of Excellence. The university will also develop and assess a Mentored Research Training Program for military clinical fellows.
Above, left to right: CU Anschutz Chancellor Don Elliman; Brig. Gen. Katherine Simonson; CU School of Medicine Dean John J. Reilly Jr., MD; and Professor of Emergency Medicine Vik Bebarta, MD. Photo at top of page: Bebarta signs an Educational Partnership Agreement, as Simonson and Elliman look on.
The DHA and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus share similar missions, said John J. Reilly Jr., MD, dean of the CU School of Medicine and vice chancellor for health affairs for the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. “We are both passionate about outstanding clinical care, advancing knowledge, moving that knowledge into practice and training the next generation of people who carry those missions forward.”
Reilly added, “This is an exciting opportunity for us as a school and gives us a chance to understand what the priorities and the needs of the military are in terms of their missions, and it certainly takes advantage of our common interests in developing people and retaining people in both clinical and research.”
Chancellor: honoring our roots
“Our roots are military,” CU Anschutz Chancellor Don Elliman said before the signing. “My and Dean Reilly’s offices were both occupied by the senior leaders of the former Army hospital for 50 years. We stand on the shoulders of the people who built this place, and we owe them gratitude for giving us the facilities that are the foundation of our medical center. It is an honor to be able to partner with the military.”
Brig. Gen. Katherine Simonson, attending the ceremony on behalf of the DHA, said the partnership helps all involved communities.
“When we look at the issues these future leaders will address – like suicide and mental health – it’s not just sergeants or airmen or sailors that will benefit from this work. It’s also our communities here in Colorado and Aurora, in our campus, in our hospitals. It's very important for us. We see that your team is ready, and we’re also ready to go.”