Association of the United States Army

Arsenal of Democracy Chapter

Medical Graduates Urged to Train Outside Comfort Zone

27 July 2015

The advice given to 17 graduating residents and 25 interns at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy on East Fort Bliss, was one Belmont followed as a young surgeon. Through “self-directed” education and performing outside his comfort zone, Belmont and his team introduced the first generation vacuum assisted closure device, in Army medicine. The device, which promotes wound healing through pressure versus a surgical procedure, proved to be effective, and since then, has become a main treatment for significant soft tissue combat wounds.
Belmont served as the orthopaedic surgery director at WBAMC and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center from 2007 through 2014. During his tenure here, he turned what was a “struggling orthopaedic program” to one of the “top five in the nation,” said Col. Michael S. Heimall, WBAMC Commander, during his opening remarks.
“In my three years as the administrator, (Belmont) never stopped learning,” said Heimall. “He managed to always teach me something about medicine and leading physicians. He has made me a much better commander.”

Dr. (Capt.) Shaunette Davey, GME graduate and recipient of the Raymond Bagg Award, said Belmont and the program’s high ranking were factors in her decision to make WBAMC her first step in her medical education.

Davey said she was particularly thrilled with the dual rotations at William Beaumont and Texas Tech, which allowed her to practice in civilian and military settings.
“The academic program here is like no other,” said Davey. “We are the only trauma program for 270 miles. We take care of a lot of level 1 trauma down at the University Medical Center and that exposure is unparalleled to any other military program. We don’t graduate here lacking anything.”

Dr. John Schriver, GME director at WBAMC, said the GME program here offers numerous opportunities for GME graduates. He said there is a large amount of research being conducted here, residents and interns rotate through level 1 and 3 hospitals, and due to the proximity to the border, graduates, have many opportunities to see a wide variety of the cases.

“The program here is like a diamond in the rough,” said Dr. (Maj.) Brandon Frye. “The teaching staff are phenomenal and the experience is like no other. I was blessed to get this program.”

Frye, a GME graduate, is one of three Army physicians, selected for hand fellowships and the first Army doctor accepted to a civilian sector fellowship. He is headed to Tampa Bay, Florida to specialize in hand surgery.

In his closing remarks, Belmont told the graduates to be proud of their legacy, including their time at WBAMC.

“I’ve been involved with the graduate medical education committee at William Beaumont for nine years,” said Belmont. “The opportunity to teach, operate and lead within the graduate medical education, has been my greatest professional joy and achievement during my professional career.”

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