Message from the AΩA Councilor - Winter 2016

In this issue of the newsletter, we congratulate the Class of 2016 on their residency matches, and wish them the best of luck in their ongoing training.  They will be taking the next few months to decompress a bit from their arduous training over the last three and a half years.  This is a well deserved period of downtime, but we all know that in our profession, training is a lifelong endeavor. 

In keeping with the spirit of our profession, and in particular with the tradition of Alpha Omega Alpha, I would like to call the attention of the Class of 2016 to the wisdom of a recently deceased physician colleague (Richard C. Christenson) who called upon all physicians to keep the marginalized sick in their hearts and minds.  He used these very simple words with which to approach each and every patient, every time:  “I see you.  I hear you”.   Dr. Christenson was a community psychiatrist who devoted his career to the homeless sick in Gainesville, Florida.  His words are more eloquently conveyed in the recent edition of the Pharos (Autumn, 2015).  Dr. Christenson tragically died from a hit-and-run accident in Africa while participating in a Habitat for Humanity mission, reminding us of the brittle nature of life and the need to embrace each moment of every day.

Regardless of the profession each of our soon-to-be-graduates pursue, I wish that each take these words to heart for all their patients, every time:  “I see you.  I hear you”.  If they start each encounter with these words in their mind and intentions of absolute positive regard in their heart for each and every patient encounter, I believe it will enrich their training, their care of patients, and their own development. 

Accordingly, I can vouch for all USU educators that we will also be there to support our trainees in this regard.  Always know that our faculty will see you, and hear you.  This is the precious aspect of military medicine where the continuity of high quality training continues well beyond the walls of USU, and the care of the learner of medicine is as important as the care of the patient, especially those in harm’s way.   

This is an exciting time of year for our fourth-year students, and a time to reflect on all they have accomplished, but also all they will accomplish as they continue to strive to be “worthy to serve the suffering” in their next stage of professional formation as physicians.  As you encounter our fourth-years, reach out to them and acknowledge their accomplishments.  See them, and hear their stories.


Patrick G. O'Malley MD, MPH, FACP
Division Director, General Internal Medicine
Professor of Medicine
Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, MD
"America's Medical School"