WILMINGTON -- A new collaboration combines veteran health care services with education.
On Monday, the College of Health & Human Services (CHHS) at UNC Wilmington and the Fayetteville VA Medical Center officially entered an education affiliation agreement.
All of the degree programs in the CHHS include a clinical, internship or field requirement in order to graduate.
Officials said this agreement gives students the opportunity to work with veterans.
"We will be able to provide, at our health care center in Wilmington, opportunities for the future leaders of health care to have an exposure to veteran care," said Elizabeth Goolsby, director, Fayetteville VA Medical Center.
While it gives students another place to sharpen their skills off campus, college officials said now they'll be able to invite VA physicians on campus as adjunct professors or guest speakers.
"These folks will see things and live things that they can bring in and share with us on a first hand basis that our students otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to hear about," said Dr. Kathy Browder, CHHS associate dean.
Plus, she said students and professors can explore new research opportunities.
"They have a tremendous database that they are willing to allow us to have access to as we partner with them to answer questions about treatment and provision of health care to veterans," said Browder.
VA officials said 70 percent of practicing health care providers did a portion of their training in a Department of Veteran Affairs facility.
One nursing student said it's nice to have a variety of settings to choose from.
"The more areas of nursing you can practice in, the more efficient and knowledgeable you'll be," said Liz Hare.
This type of collaboration is not a new thing for the VA Medical Center.
Officials said they currently have affiliation agreements with 65 colleges and universities, six institutions and 121 programs.
College officials plan to have the first round of students in the VA Clinic in the Fall.