30 December 2015 - Next week, UNC-Chapel Hill is launching a physician assistant program largely designed for military veterans. As the U.S. military’s drawdown plays out in a big way in North Carolina, the idea is to help troops with medical training turn their experience into jobs – and better health care.
Dave Manning provided medical support during two combat deployments in Iraq. He’s also been the sole medical provider on a Navy ship with more than 100 people. And yet after 20 years of service, "nothing I’ve done really translates over beyond basic EMT," he says.
"Trying to find something in the medical field without any credentials, without any licensure is tough," he continues. "There’s nothing out there."
Manning’s story became more common as the U.S. began winding down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some in the UNC medical community and at the state’s huge military bases saw that as a waste of highly-trained talent. Dr. Paul Chelminski is the director of UNC’s new physician assistant program.
"The medics and the corpsmen are often very skilled in acute medical care of younger people," he says. "They're extremely skilled in trauma care if they've been deployed."
"The customers who are accessing the health care system through the ACA are using more services than any other groups," he says. "Many are in need of primary care, and the physician's assistant plays a key role in delivering high quality, high value health care." read more>>>