The Academic Value of the VA; Fall Chair’s Sessions on Demand

The Voice of Academic Neurology's Leaders


The mission of the Department of Veterans Affairs to care for those who have borne the battle is well known, but beyond providing healthcare and other services for veterans, what is the value of the VA system to academic medicine? 

The modern VA was formed in 1946 in the immediate aftermath World War II, and its designers intended for it to be partnered with medical schools around the country, both to provide training for future physicians and also to benefit from the research and clinical expertise of academic medical faculty members, resulting in a host of affiliation agreements.  So successful have these partnerships been that over 70 percent of current practicing physicians spent at least part of their training at a VA medical facility.  In fact, the Veteran’s Health Administration has an office devoted exclusively to these collaborations, the VHA Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA), which trains over 120,000 health professionals annually.  The OAA has affiliations with 144 of 152 LCME accredited allopathic medical schools and all osteopathic schools in the U.S..

What are the advantages of a VA affiliation for a Chair of Neurology?  The VA has always identified medical education as one of its core missionsConsequently, it is a great site for medical training, providing integral patient experiences with both common and rare neurological diseases and a supportive educational environment free from some of the pressures that make live clinical teaching challenging outside the VA It is a great source for funding resident and fellow positions, and also a great location for joint appointment of faculty with heavy teaching assignments, such as Residency Program and Medical Student Clerkship Directors (the VA mission allows for underwriting of some of their teaching assignments on VA time, lightening the load on increasingly scarce sources of subsidization on the medical school side).  It also enables the creation of joint clinical positions for subspecialty and other faculty, which is very helpful when a department has the need and resources for only a part time physician position.  The VA also provides substantial funding for the research mission, in the form of VA Merit Review grants which are open to majority time VA physicians and scientists; a much higher percentage of submissions are awarded VA Merit Review grants each year as compared with the NIH, and the VA funds both clinical and basic biomedical research which may ultimately benefit veterans.  I certainly benefited in my own training from my VA experiences, and was able to build the foundation for my academic career as a junior faculty member thanks to the VA’s commitment to the teaching and research missions.  Our Neurology Department at USF has an extremely beneficial partnership with the James Haley VA Medical Center here in Tampa, which has provided us with all the above advantages and more.  If you have not already done so, I encourage you to explore how deepening your own VA partnerships can benefit you and your department.  The AUPN continues to strengthen our national partnership with the VA, and last year we extended membership to all academically affiliated VA Neurology Chiefs,  as well as the national VA Neurology Director; we are in the process of developing our very first VA Chief’s forum.

In October, the AUPN’s Fall Programs were virtual, in place of our usual in-person meetings in concert with the ANA and are now available for streaming for those who might have missed them. These excellent sessions include the following:  How to Get More Medical Students to Choose Neurology as a Career; How to Foster the Development of Junior Faculty and Managing Up and Down: Getting What You Need from Your Faculty and Your Dean Recordings for all other sessions at the ANA Meeting are available until October 15, 2021 on the ANA website and are free for those who attended the 2020 virtual meeting.

Chairs – If you have not yet, we ask for your continued support of AUPN by renewing your membership for 2021. Below please find instructions for how to renew. Thank you for your continued support of AUPN! I look forward to our continued partnership in the coming year.

Clifton L. Gooch, MD
AUPN President

Today’s Resource Links

AUPN Fall Chairs Session Videos
How to Get More Medical Students to Choose Neurology as a Career
How to Foster the Development of Junior Faculty
Managing Up and Down: Getting What You Need from Your Faculty and Your Dean

AUPN’s Leadership Minute #3: Teaching Millennials
This month’s program focuses on the challenges of, and strategies for Teaching Millennials.  Presented by Dr. Mehmood Rashid at the University of Toledo and moderated by Dr. Rohit Das at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

ASENT Training in Neurotherapeutics Discovery & Development Course
This 4 day crash course provides an expert overview of the neurotherapeutics discovery and development process, and is a great opportunity for junior academic faculty who are interested in a career in translational neuroscience, or for anyone wishing to learn about this field. February 8-12, 2021.  Further information is available at

Upcoming AUPN Virtual Winter Programs (Free for AUPN Members)
These programs will be held on consecutive Friday afternoons at 3 PM EST from Jan to Feb 2021.  The programs include:  Joint Chair & Program Director’s Forum (Jan 22); Program Director’s Workshop (Jan 29); Clerkship Director’s Workshop (Feb 5); Special Program: Recruiting Academic Neurology Faculty (Feb 12). Register:

Renew your AUPN Membership for 2021
Go to and click on Pay Dues at the top of the page.
Log into your account
. If you have forgotten your username, please email If you have forgotten your password, please reset it. Do not create a new profile.   
Follow the directions to pay dues. 

If you wish to pay with a check, simply print a copy of the invoice and return by mail. AUPN does not accept ACH payments. Access our 2020 W-9

Open Neurology Leadership Positions:

Case Western Reserve University SOM: Professor & Chair - Dept. of Neurology
University of Washington: Professor & Chair - Department of Neurology
University of Pittsburgh: Professor & Chair - Department of Neurology

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