The Minneapolis VA Health Care System Partnership

The University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Anesthesiology and Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System Partnership

The University of Minnesota Academic Health Center has a long history of collaboration with the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System (VAHCS).

In 2017, the Medical School’s Department of Anesthesiology took critical steps to deepen its partnership with the Minneapolis VAHCS by supporting the position of Vice Chair of Academic Anesthesiology at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Hospital, filled by Medical School Department of Anesthesiology Professor Ioanna Apostolidou, MD, MS, PhD. In addition to working at the VA Hospital, Dr. Apostolidou also works at the M Health Fairview University of Minnesota.

Here, there are ample opportunities for residents and physicians to fine-tune clinical skills and work with veterans to care for and treat a variety of medical conditions. The Minneapolis VA Hospital is the tertiary referral center for patients in the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 23, which includes 390,000 square miles across the states of Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and portions of Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, Missouri, and Wyoming.

“This is one of the top VA’s in the country, consistently ranked as a 5-star VA. It is a true patient-centered organization that provides the highest quality of care for veterans. The system culture embraces integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect, and excellence (the VA's core I CARE values). While providing exceptional educational experiences for trainees and career development opportunities for young physicians, the partnership with the University of Minnesota makes the VA a unique healthcare environment to practice medicine in," said Dr. Apostolidou.

This partnership offers our Medical School anesthesiology residents and faculty physicians the unique opportunity to have a duel appointment at the Minneapolis VA Hospital that grant them access to University and Department resources, such as grant-writing and research support.

Selected University of Minnesota Medical School faculty can also practice at the VA, under specified working parameters defined by both institutions. One such faculty is Mojca Konia, MD, PHD, MACM, who is a professor, the Vice Chair and Director of Simulation in the Medical School’s Department of Anesthesiology and the Simulation Director at the U of M's Academic Health Center Simulation Center. Dr. Konia also serves as the Director of Simulation over at the Minneapolis VA Hospital.

"The VA healthcare system is an organization where patient outcomes and patient safety are at the center of all efforts. This is an excellent environment for our residents to learn from," said Dr. Konia.

Minneapolis VA Hospital’s Acute Regional Pain Service

The Minneapolis VA Hospital’s Acute Regional Pain Service is comprised of many of our faculty physicians. Since May of 2018, with vital training and input from the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Anesthesiology Associate Professor Jacob Hutchins, MD, the VA Hospital’s Acute Regional Pain Service has performed thousands of peripheral nerve blocks to provide more effective pain control for veterans after surgery, led by assistant professor in the Medical School’s Department of Anesthesiology and Clinical Director of the VA’s Acute Regional Pain Service, Dustin Palm, MD. Read more about this exceptional team.

-- 

“The University of Minnesota exists to serve the people of Minnesota, and our state’s veterans are an important part of our population,” said Michael Wall, MD, FCCM, Head of the Department of Anesthesiology, “This partnership benefits residents, fellows and doctors from both systems, but most importantly it improves the quality of care our veterans receive.”