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Flowers, School of Aviation Medicine partner

Lt. Col. Steve Gaydos, U.S. Army School of Aviation Medicine, presents a print to Suzanne Woods, Flowers Hospital chief executive officer, and Dr. David Claassen, Flowers Hospital Emergency Department medical director, in honor of the partnership USASAM and the hospital Jan. 8. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Lt. Col. Steve Gaydos, U.S. Army School of Aviation Medicine, presents a print to Suzanne Woods, Flowers Hospital chief executive officer, and Dr. David Claassen, Flowers Hospital Emergency Department medical director, in honor of the partnership USASAM and the hospital Jan. 8. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: January 19, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Jan. 19, 2016) -- It’s often said that it takes a village to raise a child, and, at times, the concept also applies to training Soldiers.

The U.S. Army School of Aviation Medicine often partners with outside entities to give its Soldiers the training they need to better take care of America’s sons and daughters.

Representatives from USASAM and Flowers Hospital held a press conference in Dothan Jan. 8 to celebrate a recent partnership between the two entities, along with south Alabama emergency physicians, that has expanded the Aviation Medicine school’s ability to train Soldiers of the Aerospace and Occupational Medicine Program, according to Lt. Col. Steve Gaydos, USASAM.

“Our aerospace medicine program is new this year. We operated for a number of years with our sister services, the Air Force and the Navy, since the late 50s, and for the first time we’ve brought that home to the home of Army Aviation. That’s very important for us,” said Gaydos. “It’s notable because it’s the only program in the country with a focus on rotary-wing Aviation, so that’s very important to our helicopter brethren in the Army.

“We obviously do a lot of the military-specific training for those junior physicians at Fort Rucker, and for a lot of the training that we can’t do (on post), we will send Soldiers out all over the country,” he continued. “But the one piece that is critical to their education that we cannot provide is a lot of those broad-based clinical exposures that are absolutely critical for those Soldiers.”

Although USASAM is able to provide training in things like the flight paramedic course, the joint en route care course, the flight surgeon course, courses in doctrine and physiology, some clinical exposures, including focuses in emergency medicine, orthopedics, cardiology, pulmonology, and dermatology, are learned off post at places like Flowers Hospital, he added.

“Without local Wiregrass medical community support, we just couldn’t do those things, so this is a big day for us to establish these types of partnerships,” said Gaydos.

Suzanne Woods, Flowers Hospital chief executive officer, said the partnership is an honor for the hospital, and she is happy to be able to provide such training for Soldiers.

“We are here today and standing on free ground because of you gentlemen who are in uniform, and we are forever grateful,” she said during the press conference. “We are in health care to serve and to help others, and we’re just thrilled that we could do this in this capacity. Our ability to give back and serve you in some small way in this manner is our high privilege.”

Before the partnerships with Flowers Hospital, training for the Aerospace and Occupational Medicine Program had taken place in Pensacola, Florida, with the Navy since 2000. With the program’s move to the school on Fort Rucker last year, Soldiers are able to get a better grasp on how they will be serving their brethren in the skies, said Gaydos.

“We’re kind of the crossroads, or the rally point, for things that are both medicine and Aviation,” he said. “Our program is unique in that we offer dual-specialty certification in both aerospace and occupational medicine – two related fields with broad, overlapping cross pollination, and both are very important to the Army.”

A print of a MedEvac helicopter, complete with flight surgeon wings and a USASAM unit coin, were presented to Flowers Hospital and south Alabama emergency physicians in honor of the partnership.

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/161088/

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