Education and community relations are a large piece of the CMMR puzzle. Several examples of this type of work are listed below.
- University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (SOM) is partnering with the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System on a military medicine curriculum in January and February 2015 called “Joining Forces: Military Medicine from the Battlefield to Everyday Practice.” The course is a five-session mini-elective that is designed to give medical students a fundamental understanding of the widespread impact of military medicine upon modern medicine. Objectives of the course will be to practice asking a military history, explaining its importance in a complete medical history; describe the unique exposures different generations of veterans have encountered through various war and peace-time deployments; identify ways in which military culture and experience may affect patients’ health; describe common symptom patterns and risk factors associated with PTSD, depression, and suicide; and identify ways in which war-time medical innovations have shaped various standard of care practices in modern medicine. Course directors are Jo-Anne Suffoletto, MD, MSc Associate Chief of Staff for Education and Innovative Learning at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Pitt’s SOM, and Ronald K. Poropatich, MD, Executive Director of the CMMR and Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine in Pitt’s SOM.
- Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences has established a brand new distance learning option within the Emergency Medicine program for seniors earning a Bachelor of Science degree, effective spring 2015. The distance learning option will be available exclusively to active duty military personnel of the US Armed Forces, and is available in both full-time and part-time formats. This marks the first time a distance learning option has been available at Pitt for undergraduate active duty military personnel.
- The CMMR has facilitated a first-ever partnership between Pitt’s School of Medicine (SOM) and the Uniformed Services University (USU), located in Bethesda, MD. USU seeks to educate health professionals from military and non-military backgrounds and prepare them for careers in the Department of Defense and the United States Public Health Service. The two schools have joined together in a Research and Education Partnership Agreement that will aid in the educational and research opportunities of Pitt’s School of Medicine, USU students, PhDs, and junior faculty by providing a mechanism whereby both parties can benefit from the synergies of staff expertise, medical science and technology equipment, and joint research efforts. The Pitt faculty liaison is Peter Rubin, MD, FACS, Chair of the Department of Plastic Surgery, UPMC Endowed Professor of Plastic Surgery, and Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh.
- CMMR Executive Director Ronald K. Poropatich has joined the board of the VA Research Foundation. The VA Research Foundation is an independent private nonprofit organization and close partner of the VA Healthcare System. The foundation aims to improve the health and wellbeing of veterans by supporting and advancing VA Pittsburgh's research and education activities, while observing the highest ethical standards.
- Since 2013, Ronald K. Poropatich has been a member of the board of the Military Affairs Council of Western Pennsylvania. The Military Affairs Council serves as a conduit for military-related issues in Western Pennsylvania by including board members who represent military, community, business, and political interests in the region. The purpose of the Military Affairs Council is to cherish the values of freedom and to pass on to future generations that freedom is not free and that its preservation is the responsibility and sacrifice of all citizens, and to inculcate respect and admiration for the dedicated men and women serving our country.
- In 2014, the Military and Veterans Initiative Group (MVIG) at Pitt collaborated with the Pitt University Library System, Department of History, and Archives Services Center to create an elaborate history of the university at war, focusing on the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and its 2014 centennial celebration commemorating its organization in 1914 at what is now the William Pitt Union. Read more (PDF) The MVIG is a group of committed individuals—both internal and external to Pitt—who organized in 2013 to research and publicize the role of the military and veterans at Pitt, as well as in the region. A large emphasis is placed on supporting veterans’ service organizations, such as the VFW. The MVIG continues to build connections between Pitt, the VFW, and a younger generation of veterans who are on the rise, who deserve recognition for their service after they have separated from the military.
- CMMR is actively engaged with the City of Boston in delivering medical research support to victims of the Boston Marathon.
- One of CMMR's earliest outreach efforts to the community, to the University, and to greater Pittsburgh was a Veterans Day symposium in November 2012 hosted at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum (sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges). Dr. Arthur Levine announced that the U.S. Department of Defense awarded two grants totaling $5.4 million to the School of Medicine.
- First Lady Michelle Obama mentioned Pitt and the CMMR in January 2012 at the announcement of a "Joining Forces" initiative. Mrs. Obama said that Pitt is a school that is joining efforts to create a new generation of doctors, medical schools and research facilities that will make sure our heroes and their families receive care worthy of their sacrifice.