Original Publication
Open Access

Basic Training: A Primer on Military Life and Culture for Health Care Providers and Trainees

Published: November 19, 2012 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9270

Included in this publication:

  • Basic Training.pdf

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Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Active and retired military members comprise about 10% of the nation’s adult population. Since more than 65% of American physicians receive at least some of their professional training in Veterans Affairs hospitals, most physicians will provide care for service members, veterans, and/or their families at some point during their professional careers. This computer-based, highly generalizable, user-friendly, and self-guided tutorial is designed to enhance health care providers’ and trainees’ knowledge of military life and culture in order that they may be better able to provide culturally competent care to service members, veterans, and their families. Because this is a new resource, there are no data yet to illustrate its effectiveness, but we anticipate that it can become a highly utilized resource to assist health care providers and trainees gain a better understanding of the military lives of their patients.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this resource, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe three reasons why obtaining a patient’s military history is an important task for health care providers.
  2. Name the branches of service and identify a distinguishing feature of each.
  3. List five commonly cited reasons for enlistment in the Armed Forces.
  4. Describe the difference between officers and enlisted personnel.
  5. Describe two key differences between the active duty and guard/reserve components.
  6. Name at least five distinct military careers.
  7. Identify three benefits of military service.
  8. Identify three challenges commonly faced by military families.
  9. List two differences between the military and Veterans Affairs health systems.
  10. List two distinct ways a service member can separate from the military.

Author Information

  • Matthew Goldenberg, MD: Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine
  • Derrick A. Hamaoka, MD: Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
  • Patcho N. Santiago, MD, MPH: Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
  • James E. McCarroll, PhD, MPH: Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

None to report.

None to report.


Goldenberg M, Hamaoka D, Santiago P, McCarroll J. Basic training: a primer on military life and culture for health care providers and trainees. MedEdPORTAL. 2012;8:9270. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9270