JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
A Nevada Department of Education official who participated in her first Army-sponsored tour several years ago, admitted to knowing little about the military beforehand, now unabashedly declares she "drank the Kool-Aid."
Not only did she drink, but Randi Hunewill, assistant director of Career and Technical Education at NDE, helps other educators get a taste of the Army as an advocate with the U.S. Army Recruiting Command's Educator Tour Program, helping them discover educational and career opportunities offered by the military. She coordinated with USAREC education services specialists to lead more than 50 health science educators and education related professionals on a tour of the Army Medicine Department Center and School to learn more about the Army's medical training programs here Jan. 31.
The educators were part of the National Consortium for Health Science Education. They included secondary school officials, school sponsors and state education agency leaders who supervise their respective public education systems' health science and public safety programs, according to Hunewill.
"The reason we were very interested in visiting this facility is because we're responsible for the public education of our students, creating a good, strong academic foundation for them to be successful to go into the workforce, and of course our specialty is health care," she explained.
Latoya Newton, education services specialist for 5th Medical Recruiting Battalion, said there continues to be a need for programs such as educator tours, because of the general public's growing unfamiliarity with the military.
"When I go out to schools and mention Army Medicine, there's a look of cluelessness on people's faces," Newton said. "They don't know about Army Medicine. That's why educator tours are important to do. A lot of times they need to see it first-hand. They want to be able to go back and talk with students in secondary schools and say 'The military is a viable option for you.'"
The Army Medicine tour included stops at the Medical Education and Training Center and at AMEDD C&S where they discussed the graduate school programs with Col. Skip Gill, dean of AMEDD C&S Graduate School, who emphasized the quality of education and training students receive while detailing the multiple external accreditations earned by AMEDD C&S.
Gill talked about the symbiotic relationships AMEDD has with medical programs at the University of Kentucky, University of Nebraska Medical Center, and particularly Baylor University, which is a partnership that dates back to 1973. AMEDD also partners with Wesley Theological Seminary in their Doctor of Ministry program.
That's one of the things when I think about our graduate school here and what we do, the diversity of our programs run everything from the cellular level with the stuff our nutrition folks and our nursing and anesthesia folks do, to the clinical level which are primarily our occupational therapy, physical therapy and physician's assistant programs, all the way to the societal level with our Master of Business Administration, our Master of Social Work, and then a Doctorate of Ministry, Gill explained to the group.
"We really seem to cover that whole spectrum from the molecular level to the societal level. We cover a wide swath of educational areas," he said.
Armed with new knowledge of AMEDD careers and educational opportunities, Hunewill said she and the other educators now have more options to present to students searching for highly skilled occupations.
"Our system is changing," Hunewill said. "You used to be able to go to a certification program for a couple of weeks and be able to go out and get a (healthcare) job. (Healthcare professions now require) a much higher level of education, and the military has the opportunity to fill all of those voids -- the character part of (the military), the skillset, the academic part of it, the community service, the citizenship part; it's the whole big package; the big picture."