Congressional Record Statement of Senator Daniel K. Akaka
Mr. President, when I began my chairmanship of the Veterans' Affairs committee this January, I assured my colleagues that we would renew our focus on the need for cooperation and collaboration between the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs. As we look at the way these two entities work together, it is important that we highlight the good work and progress being made. One example of progress and excellence in collaboration can be found at the Army Medical Department Center and School, located at Fort Sam Houston, which trains Army, Air Force, and VA nurses.
This year, U.S. News and World Report ranked the Army Medical Department Center and School second in the Nation for their anesthesia nursing program. They missed first place by just a tenth of one point, and have improved their score from 3.8 out of 5.0 in 2003, to 4.0 out of 5.0 in 2007. This notable achievement brings added credibility to their already prestigious program.
Since 2004, VA and DOD have partnered to train VA nurse anaesthetists to work in the VA health care system, the largest health care system in the country. The first class of VA nurse anesthetists recently graduated from the Army Medical Department Center and School. Their graduation represents what I hope will be a steady flow of highly qualified VA nurse anesthetists using their skills and knowledge to give veterans the high-quality health care they have earned through service.
I realize that, with the private sector offering six-figure salaries for nurse anesthetists, those who chose to work within the military and VA do so not for personal gain. They stay to respond to the higher calling of caring for servicemembers and veterans in their times of need, and are to be commended for their dedication and their work. In that spirit, I say `e ho'omaika'i ia'oukou, or congratulations, to the graduates, students, faculty, staff, and others who have worked to make the Army Medical Department Center and School the success that it is today.
April 17, 2007