Graduate Medical Education in the Military Health System: Strategic Analysis and Options

Linda C. Degutis*, Arthur L. Kellermann, Kevin Jackson, Allen Middleton, Racine S. Harris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: At the request of then-Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Defense Health Horizons (DHH) examined options for shaping Graduate Medical Education (GME) in the Military Health System (MHS) in order to achieve the goals of a medically ready force and a ready medical force. Materials and Methods: The DHH interviewed service GME directors, key designated institutional officials, and subject-matter experts on GME in the military and civilian health care systems. Results: This report proposes numerous short- and long-term courses of action in three areas: 1. Balancing the allocation of GME resources to suit the needs of active duty and garrisoned troops. We recommend developing a clear, tri-service mission and vision for GME in the MHS and expanding collaborations with outside institutions in order to prepare an optimal mix of physicians and ensure that trainees meet requirements for clinical experience. 2. Improving the recruitment and tracking of GME students, as well as the management of accessions. We recommend several measures to improve the quality of incoming students, to track the performance of students and medical schools, and to foster a tri-service approach to accessions. 3. Aligning MHS with the tenets of the Clinical Learning Environment Review to advance a culture of safety and to help the MHS become a high reliability organization (HRO). We recommend several actions to strengthen patient care and residency training and to develop a systematic approach to MHS management and leadership. Conclusion: Graduate Medical Education (GME) is vital to produce the future physician workforce and medical leadership of the MHS. It also provides the MHS with clinically skilled manpower. Graduate Medical Education (GME) research sows the seeds for future discoveries to improve combat casualty care and other priority objectives of the MHS. Although readiness is the MHS's top mission, GME is also vital to meeting the other three components of the quadruple aim (better health, better care, and lower costs). Properly managed and adequately resourced GME can accelerate the transformation of the MHS into an HRO. Based on our analysis, DHH believes that there are numerous opportunities for MHS leadership to strengthen GME so it is more integrated, jointly coordinated, efficient, and productive. All physicians emerging from military GME should understand and embrace team-based practice, patient safety, and a systems-oriented focus. This will ensure that those we prepare to be the military physicians of the future are prepared to meet the needs of the line, to protect the health and safety of deployed warfighters, and to provide expert and compassionate care to garrisoned service members, families, and military retirees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalMilitary Medicine
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Graduate Medical Education in the Military Health System: Strategic Analysis and Options'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this