Have you or a loved one been deployed overseas?

Former Congressman Brian Baird, a Democrat who once represented Southwest Washington, was speaking to a colleague in Congress about the man’s medical training.

As Baird tells it, the colleague told him, “I took course work on all sorts of diseases I’ll never see in my career, but I never had a single class or even a chapter on military culture or combat deployment.”

That was in 2011.

This week, as the nation paused to thank veterans for their sacrifices and service, Baird highlighted a “good news story” about veterans health care.

“Before leaving Congress I began an effort to ensure our returning service members get the best possible medical care they can by making training in deployment related issues a regular part of all medical education,” Baird wrote in an email.

Despite more than two million Americans being deployed to combat zones and many who return to areas far from veteran medical centers, Baird wrote, many doctors did not have any training in this arena.

Now, medical students will be faced with the questions dealing with military medicine. If the subject is on the exam, the idea is medical schools will begin to teach it.

“We don’t even ask, ‘Have you or a loved one been deployed overseas,’” Baird was quoted in the USA Today story as saying.“And I thought, what a terrible oversight.”

Of course, there is still a long ways to go when it comes to improving the health care veterans receive.

But, as Baird told USA Today, there’s a pretty good chance doctors will see someone who has been deployed.

“My goal is nothing less than making this a permanent  aspect of our medical education and our health care system,” Baird was quoted by the paper as saying. “It’s rather shocking that it hasn’t been done actually.”

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or lauren.dake@columbian.com. Follow her on Twitter .

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