May 1978

The Association of Veterans Administration Surgeons

Author Affiliations

Little Rock, Ark

Arch Surg. 1978;113(5):557. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1978.01370170019002

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The Veterans Administration hospital system, founded after World War I, expanded as a result of World War II to become the largest in the United States. In 1945, Dr Paul Magnuson, a pioneering orthopedic surgeon in Chicago, later Chief Medical Director, VA (1948-1951), introduced the affiliation of VA hospitals with medical schools, with overview by "Deans Committees." This concept was designed to provide the caliber of professional staff required to furnish "medical care second to none" (a slogan of Gen Paul Hawley, erstwhile Surgeon Commanding, European theater of operations, World War II). As part of this process, the medical schools were granted residency positions needed to complete the training of the many physicians returning from military service, while the VA established research and educational programs to provide the environment for the residency programs. Magnuson realized that first-class professionals would not work in government hospitals unless their careers were protected from

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