By Marqeis Sparks
January 27, 2010 - Military medical leaders used the 2010 MHS Conference as an opportunity to emphasize the importance of the Military Health System’s status as a learning organization.
“The MHS health care organization needs to learn … through study and practice. USU is the heart of study and practice,” said Dr. Charles Rice, president of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, or USU, the MHS’s medical school located in Bethesda, Md.
“If we take the premise that universities are durable organizations, and serve as the centers for learning, then what better place within the MHS to foster constant learning than our very own USU,” said Col. Brian Reamy, assistant dean for faculty and professor of family medicine at USU, who also spoke at the conference.
USU is a unique university in that its mission is to train many of the doctors and nurses who will care for service members and their families. Even more unusual, USU relies on a volunteer faculty culled from across the MHS.
By bringing in professors with such a diverse set of hands-on experiences, the university offers students a practical training that helps prepare them for the important job they begin after graduation.
Part of maintaining a top-notch learning environment is ensuring that institutions are continually pushing themselves to improve. The MHS and USU strive to do so through self-review and self-improvement.
“Today we are thinking about learning organizations, but we need to turn thinking into action,” said Dr. Michael Dineen of the MHS strategy and development office, on behalf of Allen Middleton, acting principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.
DoD officials are encouraged to work together to improve the quality of care and resources available within the MHS.
Dr. Peter Pronovost, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, recognized the learning organizations that the MHS have built and maintained in his address. He ended by praising the Military Health System, and challenging the entire organization to continue improving all of its learning institutions. “Leadership is the ability to help people address problems that the make the world better,” said Pronovost.