Army Medical Department (AMEDD)
There are many reasons to choose a career as a health care professional in the Army. Whether you are involved in direct patient care, research, disease prevention, allied health care fields or veterinary medicine, the Army Medical Department (AMEDD) has an abundance of opportunities.
The Army Health Care Team offers a variety of benefits for your career and lifestyle if you serve full time, on Active Duty or part time in the Army Reserve.
Imagine conducting your practice without worrying about profit-based motives such as overhead, establishing a patient base, hiring competent staff, rent, utilities, equipment and rising malpractice insurance costs. In the Army, it’s a reality. You can also continue your education and specialization to further your health care career. Continuing education courses, seminars, teaching, research”you’ll have the opportunity to train and learn in your area of professional expertise when you join. In some cases, the Army can help pay your tuition. There may be an Army scholarship program that meets your needs.
Fixed Hospitals and Field Medical Units
With the war on terrorism raging, the spotlight justifiably is on the Army’s medics, evacuation units, surgical teams and field hospitals in the theater of war. Field medical units are under the command of the combat commanders, because their movements and work must be coordinated with those of fighting forces.
The Army Medical Department is also a seamless chain of care stretching back to fixed hospitals in Europe and the United States, where soldiers receive state-of-the-art care. The fixed hospitals, on the other hand, are commanded by the U.S. Army Medical Command.
- Dual-hatted surgeon/commander
The AMEDD’s answer is to “dual-hat” the top Army physician as both the Army surgeon general and the commanding general of MEDCOM.
As Army surgeon general, this lieutenant general is the medical expert on the Army staff, advising the secretary of the Army, Army chief of staff and other Army leaders. His position and expertise enable him to provide effective medical guidance to field units even though he does not command them.
As head of the MEDCOM, he actually commands fixed hospitals and other AMEDD commands and agencies. This system unites in one leader’s hands the duty to develop policy and budgets (Army surgeon general) and the power to execute them (MEDCOM commander).
- One staff
This unity is reinforced by the “one-staff” concept. This blends the Army surgeon general’s staff, located in the Washington, D.C., area, and the MEDCOM commander’s staff at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, into a single staff for both three-star functions.
Legally, OTSG and MEDCOM remain separate entities with different duties and powers. However, staff members are now dual-hatted like their boss, to cut duplication and improve communication. The staff totals less than 1 percent of AMEDD strength.
Three assistant surgeons general are dual-hatted as MEDCOM deputy chiefs of staff: a DCS for force management, a DCS for force sustainment, and a DCS for force projection.
- Medical research is unified under a single major subordinate command, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Fort Detrick, Md.
- Eight Army medical centers, 26 medical department activities and numerous clinics in the United States, Europe and Japan are grouped under six major subordinate commands called regional medical commands.
- Dental facilities are grouped under U.S. Army Dental Command, a major subordinate command. DENCOM has regions called regional dental commands. DENCOM headquarters is at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
- Veterinary elements are under U.S. Army Veterinary Command, a major subordinate command at Fort Sam Houston. VETCOM has regional veterinary commands, which oversee veterinary districts. VETCOM’s Defense Department-wide mission supports the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.
Other MEDCOM subordinate commands concentrate special expertise and resources for more efficient support of worldwide AMEDD missions.
- The Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., centralizes scientific experts and resources to efficiently support a worldwide preventive medicine, occupational health and wellness mission.
- U.S. Army Medical Information Technology Center, at Fort Sam Houston, centralizes life-cycle management of AMEDD information systems. It is the AMEDD’s “one-stop shopping center” for computer and information-management expertise and services.
- The MEDCOM’s Health Care Acquisition Activity provides worldwide medical contracting support for the AMEDD, through contracting centers located at four medical centers and at Fort Sam Houston.
Through formal schooling, too, Army Medicine helps build medical resources in many nations. Scores of foreign military medical personnel train yearly at the AMEDD Center and School, taking back new ideas and skills not only to their armed forces but ultimately to their countries’ civilian healthcare systems.