FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Officials from the U.S. Army School of Aviation Medicine paid a visit to Southern Bone & Joint Specialists in Dothan Jan. 9 to issue a big thanks to their civilian partners for the role they play in helping to train the Army's medical professionals.

USASAM serves as the sponsoring institution for two graduate medical education residency programs affording medical specialty training in aerospace and occupational medicine, respectively, according to Col. Steven Gaydos, USASAM Occupational Medicine program director. Each program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Initial graduates are generally assigned to combat Aviation brigades or in other operational positions, followed by challenging jobs in operational medicine, clinical positions, staffing and policy, education and training, or research, the colonel said.

"Our challenging curricula mandate clinical exposure in medical specialties and subspecialties that we just could not provide without the support of our local Wiregrass medical community," he said. "In short, they have been outstanding, and we really value and appreciate all their tremendous support. Southern Bone & Joint Specialists is a great example of that."

"On behalf of the dean (Col. Mark McPherson), I just wanted to say thank you so much for all of your outstanding support to our residents," Gaydos said at the Southern Bone & Joint Specialists facility. "Some specialty and specialty rotations are a fundamental part of what they do -- we can't provide that ourselves, so without help of the local Wiregrass community, we couldn't run our program.

"These residents go on to take care of America's sons and daughters in the (Department of Defense), so what you guys do (makes that possible)," he added. "You're great Americans and we really appreciate all of your support."

After Gaydos spoke, he and McPherson presented Southern Bone & Joint Specialists officials with a print of a MedEvac helicopter and USASAM coins.