Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has pledged to issue an implementation plan in January for several recommendations contained in a new report on the affiliation between the VA and U.S. medical schools, including a recommendation to create a federally chartered, standing committee to help ensure that these affiliations realize their full potential. The report was issued by the Blue Ribbon Panel on VA-Medical School Affiliations formed in September 2006, and it urged the creation of a permanent committee tasked “with developing mechanisms whereby VA-academic medical center partners could form local or regional strategic alliances and/or joint ventures.” Shinseki also pledged to follow through on a recommendation for examining and streamlining policies and procedures that impeded VA-medical school partnerships. VA facilities are affiliated with 107 medical schools, 55 dental schools and more than 1,200 other schools for healthcare professionals, according to a news release, and 100,000 health professionals receive training in VA medical centers each year.
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