As part of the Navy Week outreach program, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center hosted Rear Admiral Paul Pearigen, MD, Commander of Navy Medicine West, and Chief of the Navy Medical Corps, on a campus tour. Navy Week is a 15 city stop across the United States to promote the importance of the work being done by the U.S. Navy. An estimated 75 to 100 outreach events are organized with various organizations during the program.
The tour was hosted and led by Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer of UTHSC Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE, and designed to foster collaboration between UTHSC and the Navy on research efforts and scholarship opportunities available to students from the Navy, such as the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP).
“The Navy allows graduates the opportunity to serve, train and begin the early years of their career in an interesting setting,” said Rear Admiral Pearigen, who directs Navy Medicine’s health care system in the Pacific and oversees Navy Medicine’s research efforts worldwide.
Among the stops were the Cancer Research Building and the Translational Science Research Building, which serve as multi-disciplinary research facilities, fostering collaboration among research investigators through the use of open format laboratory settings.
Also on the agenda was a brief stop at the final construction stages of UTHSC’s new $36.7 million Interprofessional Simulation and Patient Safety Center, slated to open later this year, which showcase that collaboration not only happens in the research labs, but in the classrooms.
“We are excited about this building,” Dr. Brown said. “It will integrate all our students, which sends the message of collaborative care and the cultural evolution of integrated learning.”
The tour concluded with Admiral Pearigen meeting with a student on the opportunities available from the Navy. Dr. Brown said the beauty of this dynamic is that UTHSC students go into their professions because they truly care and they want to give back in some kind of way.
“We want to make sure we are getting the recruiters good access, so that students know the wide variety of schools they can go to on our scholarship programs,” Rear Admiral Pearigen said. “It’s a good way to start your medical career. I thought I would work four years, and that was 25 years ago.”