Welcome to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. We invite you to explore our website to learn more about this great university, including the unique academic experiences and continued traditions of excellence in military and public health medicine that make USU a special place.
Our scholars pursue high standards of education in order to gain the skills and competencies necessary to practice good medicine in challenging environments. Our graduating physicians, advanced practice nurses, dentists and biomedical scientists protect the health of our nation's soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. Therefore, we take great efforts to ensure the USU experience holistically prepares health care professionals to meet the unique challenges of military medicine and public health and succeed in any environment.
This clear vision has steered USU from its inception four decades ago, and serves as the guiding principal as the university continues to grow and evolve into a world class academic health center.
At the Uniformed Services University, you will find a traditional academic health center with an additional mission that is unlike any other institution of learning--to provide the nation with health professionals dedicated to career service in the Department of Defense and the United States Public Health Service.
Education at the Uniformed Services University is unique in many ways. For one, students attending the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Nursing learn in a multi-service environment. Although the differences between the Army, Air Force, Navy and Public Health Service are distinct, a sense of shared purpose distinguishes the students here and fosters a pervasive and inimitable spirit of teamwork.
Students do not incur the costly financial debt of traditional medical schools and graduate programs because their tuition is waived by the Department of Defense. Students also receive the full salary and benefits of a junior officer in exchange for a seven year service commitment.
The School of Medicine and Graduate School of Nursing curriculums are similar to their civilian counterparts, however, learning objectives harness specialized educational elements geared toward producing career uniformed officers.
Students attend year round and those in the School of Medicine receive 700 additional hours of education that focus largely on areas such as epidemiology, health promotion, leadership and field exercise, disease prevention and tropical medicine.
Approximately half of the students who matriculate into the Uniformed Services University have no prior military experience. Therefore, as part of their education, students learn the tenets of battlefield care by engaging in various field exercises. These memorable experiences introduce students to the challenges of practicing good medicine in harsh environments.
It began as a way for students to break in their combat boots, but has since evolved into a full-day military history lesson. First year medical and nursing students shoulder load bearing gear as they navigate six miles of countryside across the Antietam National Battlefield. The students are divided into companies and set out for landmarks where members of USU faculty and Civil War re-enactors await. At each designated station, medical experts give the historical facts of the extraordinary events that took place at each station, including the trials medical personnel face in the midst of raging battle.
Students are flown by helicopter to Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania and over the next four days their skills as medical professionals are assessed in a simulated battlefield environment. Among the challenges-starting an IV in a field setting and triaging fellow service members while "under fire." Additionally, the training provides experience in critical military skills such as land navigation, hand-to-hand combat, firearms training and use of military vehicles and radios.
Smoke fills the night sky, voices of the "wounded" call out for help, and exploding bombs and gunfire stir turmoil on a mock battlefield at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. Students are expected to bring order out of this chaos by locating and triaging the casualties, in the midst of a simulated mass casualty, under the watchful eye of USU faculty. The exercise augments lessons learned in USU classrooms and serves as the final exam for the Military and Contingency Medicine course, taken by all fourth-year School of Medicine students as well as some students in the Graduate School of Nursing.
Our students reflect the nation's best and brightest scholars, who have in them a deep-rooted commitment to service, science, and the greater good. They come from all over the United States to pursue study at the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Nursing.
The university is fully engaged in providing visionary military and public health-relevant research opportunities. Our reputation as a worldwide center of excellence stems from expertise in areas such as post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, disaster medicine, infectious diseases, preventive medicine, tropical medicine and adaptation to extreme environments.
History of USU
Although the Uniformed Services University was chartered by an act of Congress on September 21, 1972, the university story really begins decades earlier...
President Richard Nixon signed a bill chartering the Uniformed Services University on September 21, 1972.
As the dust was settling on the battlefields of Okinawa and the American public was reveling in the fruits of victory, the Department of Defense acknowledged the end of World War II with the discharge of more than ten million men and women. This exodus had vast implications for the Military Health System, because included in the turnover were many physicians who-having met their civic responsibilities-returned to their public and private practices. This massive departure left the armed forces with a dwindling medical corps.
Immediately following the war, policy leaders in Congress and the Defense Department discussed the establishment of a federally run medical school. They debated the merits of educating soldiers and sailors in the practice of medicine. Opposition was quick to point out the long lead time to organize such an academy and there was of course, the matter of cost. It would require considerable funding to see this idea to fruition. On the other hand, the services needed career physicians.
Discourse continued intermittently for years, but action did not ensue until President Nixon called for an end to the draft in 1970. The military could no longer rely on conscripts to provide medical care to our nation's soldiers and their families. The imminent end of a reliable supply of physicians in the uniformed services resulted in a renewed focus on the future of military medicine. And at the forefront was a leading democrat from Louisiana. Congressman F. Edward Hebert heavily championed what he called a "West Point for doctors". At the proposed Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, scholars would receive unparalleled education in the health sciences while the nation gained a strong cadre of medical officers.
Congressman Hebert lobbied tirelessly for a military medical school and before long, the Uniformed Services University began to receive favorable attention from powerful decision-makers. One such proponent, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, realized a federally run medical school could be an important and powerful adjunct to newly adopted measures calling for military scholarship programs. He used the weight of his charge to rally support and received the backing of many influential congressional leaders. Legislation to create USU was passed by Congress, and President Nixon proved indeed the power of the almighty pen-signing the university into law on September 21, 1972.
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Pig Laboratory
A training video obtained by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine through the Freedom of Information Act reveals the unlawful use of live pigs to teach first-year medical students at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. A live pig is tethered to an operating table as a scalpel slices through the animal's skin and muscle. Later, the pig's chest is cracked open to allow an instructor to shock and manually manipulate the heart before the animal is killed.
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