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RAHC deputy commander to lead national group

The deputy commander for clinical services at Fort Sill's Reynolds Army Health Clinic (RAHC) became president of the Uniformed Services Academy of Family Physicians on Sunday.

Col. Douglas Maurer is the head physician in charge of all clinical operations at Reynolds, according to Joel McFarland, the clinic's public affairs officer.

According to its website, "the Uniformed Services Academy of Family Physicians (USAFP) is a constituent chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians and is comprised of family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students serving on active duty worldwide in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Public Health Service. The USAFP has over 2,700 members serving on military installations in the U.S. and in many other countries throughout the world."

Maurer was actually voted president-elect of USAFP a year ago and now assumes the duties of president for a year. He will then serve a year as immediate past president.

Maurer describes USAFP as "the equivalent of a state chapter" in the American Academy of Family Physicians and one of the largest, if not the largest, in terms of membership. Oklahoma also has a chapter.

As the president, part of his role will be advocacy within the confines of what he can do as an Army service member.

"We're looking for issues that are important to military medicine, including the Public Health Service ... as well as emphasis on military readiness," he said.

The military is getting ready to transition military medicine to the Defense Health Agency (DHA) in the next 1-2 years.

"It may shape what we look like and what we're doing as family physicians for the next 10 to 20 years," Maurer said.

As of Oct. 1 DHA will potentially assume command and control over all medical treatment facilities throughout the Department of Defense. DHA has been around for a while, but it has been more of a policy-making entity. Typically, commanders of the medical treatment facilities now answer to either the Forces Command commander on their installation or the regional commander like the one in San Antonio, Texas, or both. When the change goes into effect, commanders of the medical treatment facilities will answer directly to DHA.

"How that changes things no one really knows at this point, but it's a change," Maurer said.

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