UNC Chapel Hill and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina are collaborating on a training program for military medics who want to transfer their skills to the civilian world. A physician assistant master's program building on the experience and training of Special Forces medics will be designed with input from a team at Fort Bragg. Bruce Cairns is medical director of UNC's Jaycee Burn Center and an organizer of the new program. He says the initiative is driven by two primary factors, including an increasing number of returning veterans.
Bruce Cairns: "One of the more important roles for us is to provide educational and service opportunity for them to continue the great work that they've done for us as medics in the military here in the United States. The second issue is that, with the health care reform act, there's an enormous health care provider shortage. And that's particularly true in the rural areas and the underserved areas."
Blue Cross has pledged $1.2 million over four years to the program. It aims to enroll its first class in 2015.