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200 new doctors, advanced-practice nurses to join military medical ranks early

Navy admiral holds up his right hand to administer an oath while standing behind a lectern on an auditorium stage.

Vice Adm. (Dr.) Forrest Faison, then the Navy surgeon general and chief of the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, administers an oath to the graduating class of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences at a ceremony in Washington, May 18, 2019. More than 200 USU military medical students and graduate nursing students will be graduating early in 2020 to support their colleagues in the U.S. military health system amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

Service members stand at their seats in an auditorium and raise their right hands.

Military medical professionals take their oath at their graduation from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences during a ceremony in Washington, May 18, 2019. More than 200 USU military medical students and graduate nursing students will be graduating early in 2020 to support their colleagues in the U.S. military health system amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

Medical students fill an auditorium lined with wall-mounted screens.

More than 200 uniformed medical and graduate nursing students from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences will graduate early to join the ranks of their military medical counterparts.

More than 200 military medical students and graduate nursing students from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, known as USU, will be graduating early to support their colleagues in the U.S. military health system amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

USU President Dr. Richard Thomas made the decision when the national emergency was declared, officials said.

"Our curriculum has a specific focus on threats like emerging infectious diseases and disasters that our military and Public Health Service forces are likely to encounter in the course of their careers," Thomas said. "This instruction is based on real-life lessons learned, is woven throughout the curriculum and incorporated into our medical field exercises."

USU's students are uniquely prepared to meet and address the readiness needs of the Defense Department and the nation the moment they step out of the university's doors, Thomas said.

"This is exactly what they were educated and trained to do," he added. The surgeon generals of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Public Health Service will receive a competent cadre of health care professionals who can augment current resources available to them."

The students, who are all active duty uniformed officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Public Health Service, will have completed all of their requirements to be awarded a degree and will be available for reassignment by their respective services, officials said. The officers include physicians; family health, mental health and women's health nurse practitioners; clinical nurse specialists and certified registered nurse anesthetists.  

USU is the nation's only federal health sciences university.

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