The 59th Medical Wing, located at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, is the Air Force's premier healthcare, medical education and research, and readiness wing. The wing's vision is "Exemplary Care, Global Response." Its mission is "Developing Warrior Medics Through Patient-Centered Care."
The 59th Medical Wing is dedicated to exemplary patient-centered health care with a clear focus on patient safety, ready access and customer service. Headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, the organization prides itself in finding new ways to enhance the patient experience through process improvement and innovation. With various treatment facilities throughout the city, the 59th MDW provides a full spectrum of health care services to more than 240,000 beneficiaries in the San Antonio metropolitan area.
The organization provides superior graduate medical education and training, state-of-the-art research, and first-class global medical readiness. It also serves as the Air Force functional medical command for Joint Base San Antonio. Also part of the 59th MDW, the En-Route Patient Staging System is the mid-west regional aeromedical evacuation hub for wounded, ill and injured service members from across the world.
HEALTH CARE AT WILFORD HALL
The wing’s Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center is located on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. The new facility is a $418 million, 682,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility that replaced the old building in June of 2017. Wilford Hall is the U.S. Air Force’s flagship medical facility for outpatient care. Serving more than 55,000 patients, it is the Department of Defense’s largest outpatient ambulatory surgical center. The building features four wings, on four floors, housing more than 25 outpatient clinics and clinical services.
The medical campus includes a three story, 1,000-plus car parking garage and a central energy plant.
This project is part of the San Antonio Military Health System’s commitment to provide the best access to care for beneficiaries and their families. This initiative was spurred by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act, which mandated that San Antonio’s military medical facilities integrate into an enhanced multi-service market to improve operational effectiveness and efficiency. As a result of the mandate, Wilford Hall’s inpatient services were moved to the San Antonio Military Medical Center, at nearby JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.
Most of the wing’s military personnel are assigned to one of several readiness teams, which act as building blocks to form Expeditionary Medical Support hospitals and a number of specialized units, to include Critical Care Air Transport Teams.
The wing has the largest medical mobility commitment in the U.S. Air Force and maintains approximately 1,250 mobility positions. At any one time, there are about 100 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 within JBSA. Outreach teams are regularly dispatched all over the globe to respond to emergencies, assist in DOD contingency missions, and reinforce readiness training through real-world civil and humanitarian assistance missions.
EDUCATION & TRAINING
The 59th MDW’s postgraduate medical education function is merged with that of Brooke Army Medical Center under the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium. The two facilities, in close cooperation with the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, provide a wide array of training programs ranging from general surgery to emergency medical services administration.
At any given time, SAUSHEC has roughly 900 residents enrolled in 37 graduate medical education programs, of which 60 percent are Air Force. There are an additional 22 programs for our 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.
In addition to the GME program, the 59th MDW is the largest of 15 clinical training sites in the Air Force, graduating an average of 750 officer and enlisted students in various dental and allied health programs each year. Additional training includes the Sustainment Training to Advance Readiness Skills program, refresher trauma training and courses for specialized surgical and critical care teams. The 59th MDW, with the USAF Post Graduate Dental School, has the largest DOD dental education mission, providing 85 percent of the Air Force’s total dental training capacity.
Additionally, the wing’s 59th Training Group, on nearby JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, supports military medical service and medical readiness training for 12,100 students annually at the Medical Education and Training Campus. Other training sites include two operating locations, one detachment and 17 additional areas around the world. The 59th Training Group's partnership with METC affords training for the five uniformed services and international students. The group awards 24 Air Force specialty codes and 93,037 Community College of the Air Force credit hours annually while maintaining 14 national accreditation.
Chief Scientist, Science and Technology, 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 the Critical Care Air Transport Unit.
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, wartime vascular injury management, diabetes management, combat casualty care, and critical care in aeromedical evacuation.
As a member of a strong inter-service team, the 59th Medical Wing 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 Services, University Health System, and the Mayor’s Fitness Council. The 59th Medical Wing is committed to providing the best possible care to all active-duty members, dependents and retirees while working closely with the local community.
PERSONNEL AND RESOURCES
The 59th MDW is comprised of six distinct groups located across San Antonio. Two groups, the 59th Medical Operations Group and 59th Medical Support Group, provide health care services and support at Wilford Hall.
The 559th MDG provides routine and preventive health care to the thousands of basic military trainees, and technical training and foreign students who traverse JBSA-Lackland annually.
At nearby JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, about 1,600 warrior medics from the 959th MDG work side-by-side with their Army counterparts to provide quality patient care at the San Antonio Military Medical Center. SAMMC is the DOD’s largest inpatient medical facility, and the 59th MDW’s highly-specialized trauma surgeons staff the Defense Department’s only joint service level 1 trauma center in the United States.
The wing's newest addition, the 59th Training Group, supports military medical service and medical readiness training at the Medical Education and Training Campus on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.
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 at JBSA-Lackland provides care for approximately 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.
The 59th MDW operates with a $271 million annual operating budget, and a staff of about 8,000 military, civilian, and contract personnel. The 59th MDW is home to the 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, a Warfighter Refractive Surgery Center, and Extracorporeal Life Support capability. ECLS offers the only global transport option in the world, providing partial heart-lung bypass to eligible adults, infants, and children suffering from severe cardiopulmonary failure.