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Posted 2/18/2015 Printable Fact Sheet
59th Medical Wing
59th Medical Wing
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The 59th Medical Wing, located at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, is the Air Force's premier health care, medical education and research, and readiness wing. The wing's vision is "Partners in a high-performance health system, dedicated to excellence in global care." Its mission is to optimize readiness and patient-centered care through collaborative health delivery, education, training, and research.


A member of the San Antonio Military Health System, the 59th MDW is the Air Force's largest medical wing and is the Air Force functional medical command for Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA). It is comprised of seven groups across the city of San Antonio. Four are located at the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center (WHASC) on JBSA-Lackland. Another, the 959th Medical Group is located at the San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC), on nearby JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. The remaining two, the 359th Medical Group and 559th Medical Group, are located at and support the missions of JBSA-Randolph and JBSA-Lackland, respectively. The 59th MDW operates with a $270 million budget, and a staff of 6,000 military, civilian, and contract personnel.

The wing is home to the Department of Defense's Critical Care Air Transport Team Pilot Unit, which has executive management over 118 active-duty, Guard and Reserve teams. The wing also has the Defense Department's largest Blood Donor Center, the DOD's Warfighter Refractive Surgery Center, and the only Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation System (ECMO) capability in the DOD. The wing provides the only global ECMO transport option in the world, providing partial heart-lung bypass to eligible adults, infants, and children suffering from severe cardiopulmonary failure.

The 59th MDW also has the largest dental facility in the DOD and the only dental group in the Air Force. The 59th Dental Group examines 36,000 basic military trainees and 28,000 technical training students a year. It has the only stereolithography and modeling lab in the Air Force, which produces dimensionally-accurate medical models and craniofacial prostheses. This capability provides rehabilitative support to patients with acquired or congenital defects of the head and neck region.

As mandated by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Law, all 59th MDW inpatient functions were relocated to JBSA-Fort Sam Houston's SAMMC. With the relocation complete on Sept. 15, 2011, Wilford Hall became an ambulatory surgical center. The center is now staffed by Air Force and Army personnel. This change gains efficiencies by consolidating all military medical inpatient care in the San Antonio area to a single location. The transition fosters an increased collaboration between DOD medical entities that reflects how the military responds to global missions while training and providing care at home.


Healthcare. The 59th MDW provides a complete spectrum of medical care at various facilities in San Antonio. WHASC is the Air Force's largest outpatient facility which provides the full spectrum of primary care, specialty care, and outpatient surgery. At SAMMC, 59th MDW personnel provide bone marrow transplant services and other rare and complex treatments. The wing's highly specialized trauma surgeons, along with their Army counterparts, staff the DOD's only Joint Level 1 Trauma Center in the U.S. and largest inpatient facility, located at Fort Sam Houston.

Readiness. Most of the wing's military personnel are assigned to one of many readiness teams which act as building blocks to form Expeditionary Medical Support (EMEDS) hospitals and a number of specialized units, to include Critical Care Air Transport Teams (CCATTs). The 59th MDW has the largest medical mobility commitment in the U.S. Air Force and maintains approximately 2,950 mobility positions. At any point in time, there are about 200 medics deployed worldwide, executing a joint U.S. mission in support of global operations. Additionally, the 59th MDW oversees deployments for all Air Force medical assets assigned to JBSA. Outreach teams are regularly dispatched all over the globe to respond to emergencies, assist in DOD contingency missions, and to reinforce readiness training through real-world civil/humanitarian assistance missions.

Education. The wing's postgraduate medical education function merged with that of Brooke Army Medical Center under the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium (SAUSHEC). The two facilities, in close cooperation with the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), provide a wide array of training programs ranging from general surgery to emergency medical services administration. At any given time, SAUSHEC has roughly 600 residents enrolled in 35 graduate medical education programs, of which 60 percent are Air Force. There are an additional 22 programs for Allied Health members, to include: psychology internship; health psychology fellow, dietetic; pharmacy clinical; pastoral education; general surgery physician assistant (PA); emergency medicine PA; otolaryngology PA, and audiology.

Training. In addition to the graduate medical education program, the 59th MDW is the largest of 15 clinical training sites in the Air Force, graduating an average of 500 officer and enlisted students in various dental and Allied Health programs each year. Other training includes the Sustainment Training to Advance Readiness Skills program, and a number of other training courses including refresher trauma training and courses for specialized surgical and critical care teams. The 59th MDW has the largest DOD dental education mission, providing 85 percent of the Air Force's total dental training capacity.

Research. The Clinical Research Division is the Air Force Medical Service's largest and most productive research facility, with more than 500 active research protocols. The primary focus of the wing's research program is to meet the needs of the Air Force through the development and performance of medical readiness training for expeditionary forces such as pararescuemen and Critical Care Air Transport Teams. The majority of research and training protocols directly contribute to the wing's mission by supporting graduate medical and graduate dental program requirements, sustaining medical readiness, and building healthy communities. Important research initiatives include traumatic brain injury treatment, war time vascular injury management, diabetes management, combat casualty care, and critical care in aeromedical evacuation.

Collaboration. As members of a strong inter-service team, the 59th MDW is also dedicated to building partnerships with community organizations such as the Veterans Affairs Audie Murphy Hospital, University of Texas Health Science Center, Humana Military Healthcare Service. University Health System, and the Mayor's Fitness Council. The 59th MDW is committed to providing the best possible care to all active-duty members, dependents, and retirees, while working with the local community.

Point of Contact: 59th MDW Public Affairs Office, 2200 Bergquist Drive, Ste 1, JBSA-Lackland, TX 78236-9908, DSN 554-7688 or commercial 210-292-7688. For more information, access the 59th MDW web site at www.59mdw.af.mil.

Current as of 22 Oct 2013

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