Archives for November 2014

Giving Thanks … with Empathy and Hope

Man and woman talking

Patricia (PJ) Johnson and Army Veteran Teddy Rosario

Patricia Johnson is helping to provide a few friends with a Thanksgiving dinner. About 110 of them, actually, all Veterans for whom she says, “We can’t do enough.”

The annual dinner at the NY Harbor Health Care System Mental Health Clinic is scheduled the day before Thanksgiving. As Johnson, known as “PJ” to her many friends, puts it, “We are thankful for the many freedoms these Veterans have given us. When I was in college, I could go dancing but these guys were in foxholes. I am just so thankful I can now do something for them.”

A lot of Veterans who will be at the Thanksgiving dinner are also very thankful for PJ. Here’s why.

When asked what skills are most useful in the Manhattan Psychosocial Clubhouse, Patricia Johnson responds by saying “empathy and hope.”

Johnson, who coordinates the activities for the Clubhouse, is noted for her upbeat, poetic and bohemian artistic spirit. She is proud to have worked at VA for a number of years and is happy to have found her niche in coordinating the activities of the Clubhouse since the beginning of the program in 1993.

A few years ago, Johnson was run over by a car while undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. A broken pelvis and other serious injuries required nine months of rehabilitation in a nursing home. The experience strengthened her awareness of the importance of empathy and hope in recovery from physical and emotional trauma.

She welcomes all Veterans into the Clubhouse and is especially sensitive to those who may be struggling to just get through the day. Throughout her recovery, she would receive “visits” in the form of weekly phone calls from Veterans at the Clubhouse, encouraging her to recover and come back quickly.

“I came back with Access-a-Ride and a walker,” she says. Today, thanks to physical therapy and a very positive attitude, PJ literally does a hop, skip and jump to demonstrate her full recovery.

“PJ is definitely the Clubhouse.”

“Knowing someone was depending on me was the big impetus to get well.” She says she never forgets how powerful the message of empathy and hope from others can be when you are not feeling well and barely getting by.

Johnson’s devotion to her work with Veterans and their devotion to her is unmistakable and very moving. “Treat Veterans like you would want your family to be treated and then we can’t go wrong” is how she expresses her core values relating to interactions with Veterans, whether it’s giving Veterans the chance to express themselves by teaching them the art of wood burning, listening to them vent frustrations, or just kidding around and encouraging laughter.

Teddy Rosario, an Army Veteran who has known PJ since 1987 when the Clubhouse opened, says, “PJ is definitely the Clubhouse. Without her, we would have no mother.”

The New York Harbor Manhattan Clubhouse is a mental health recovery oriented space in the Mental Health Outpatient Clinic that invites Veterans to socialize, learn new skills and connect with other Veterans. The Clubhouse provides activities that promote mental health recovery and transition back to the community in an environment that respects the unique richness of the Veterans experiences.

Veterans are offered an opportunity to take part in peer support services, structured activities and a safe place to socialize. The Clubhouse partners with Volunteer Services to provide opportunities for community organizations and services wanting to show their appreciation to our Veterans by hosting music performances, holiday luncheons and many other activities meaningful to our Veterans.

This year, Johnson’s commitment to Veterans and her remarkable devotion to supporting their feelings of wellbeing were formally acknowledged when VA New York Harbor Healthcare System Director Martina Parauda recognized her as a 2014 recipient of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs “Hands and Heart Award.”

“You made the change because you were ready.”

The award recognizes a VA employee at each medical facility whose characteristics best exemplify the provision of emotional support, help and guidance to patients during the past year.

Sister James, a Cabrini Sisters nun, agrees with the recognition. “PJ was very welcoming to me and supportive and open to my suggestions. She shows by her own actions how to be supportive. She is very compassionate and always has the time.”

Many Veterans in the New York City area are also very thankful for Sister James. She has volunteered for more than five years assisting in many kinds of demanding activities such as working with VA staff to host holiday meals for dozens of Veterans.

“It has been wonderful working at the Clubhouse. I enjoy working with the Veterans and with the other volunteers. I thought I was helping them, but they’ve given more to me. They are wonderful, humble, loving people. My heart goes out to the men and women Veterans,” says Sister James, who is now recovering from an illness.

Reflecting on the award Johnson says “It’s like the Stanley Cup. I have it for a year and then have to give it back.”

But her greatest moments of satisfaction are ongoing. “Patients tell me the difference I’ve made in their lives. They come back saying, ‘I’m clean ten years because of you,’ or, ‘I got my life together because of you.’ I tell them you made the change because you were ready.”

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2014/November/Giving-Thanks-With-Empathy-And-Hope.asp

Phoenix VA Health Care System Director Removed








Phoenix VA Health Care System Director Removed

November 24, 2014, 05:29:00 PM





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 Phoenix VA Health Care System Director Removed


Today the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) formally removed Sharon Helman, the director of the Phoenix VA Healthcare System, from federal service. This decision followed an investigation by the VA Office of Inspector General in which allegations of lack of oversight and other misconduct were substantiated. This removal action underscores VA’s commitment to hold leaders accountable and ensure that Veterans have access to quality and timely care.


 “Lack of oversight and misconduct by VA leaders runs counter to our mission of serving Veterans, and VA will not tolerate it,” said Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “We depend on VA employees and leaders to put the needs of Veterans first and honor VA’s core values of ‘Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect and Excellence.’”


 The Department of Veterans Affairs will name a new director in Phoenix as quickly as possible. To ensure continuity of care for Veterans and leadership for VA employees during the recruitment period, Glenn Grippen has been designated interim Phoenix VA Healthcare System director.


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Brain Bank to Help in Treatment of PTSD

Close up portrait of Dr. Matthew Friedman

Dr. Matthew Friedman

There are currently more than 50 brain banks in the United States. The focus of these brain tissue repositories is on investigating alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, schizophrenia and a variety of neurological disorders. Yet there has never been a PTSD brain bank — until now.

With recently appropriated funding from Congress, the National Center for PTSD is leading a research consortium developing a national PTSD brain bank. This will be the first brain tissue repository dedicated to researching the physical impact of stress, trauma and PTSD on brain tissue, thereby advancing the scientific knowledge of PTSD, particularly PTSD biomarkers. Dr. Matthew Friedman, Senior Advisor to the Center and its former Executive Director, is directing the consortium. Plans are for the brain bank to become operational by early 2015.

According to Friedman, “The Leahy-Friedman National PTSD Brain Bank would be very grateful to accept tissue donations from Veterans who wish to donate their brains for scientific study after they die. We will establish a website where potential donors can make their wishes known. Brain bank staff will contact them and initiate in-depth discussions about donating tissue to the brain bank.”

Friedman expects the website will be launched within a month or two.

Since 2003, leading academic and research institutions have collaborated in an effort, led by Friedman and Dr. Robert Ursano, Chair of Psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USUHS), to establish a national PTSD brain bank. But various impediments, including lack of reliable funding, held up the project for a decade.

“We have wanted to do this for a long time, but only now have we received the funding we needed,” Friedman explained. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), a steadfast supporter of the Center’s mission to improve the lives of Veterans living with PTSD, spearheaded the successful effort to secure Congressional funding for the brain bank last year. Because of the pivotal roles played by Leahy and Friedman, the brain bank’s official name is “The Leahy-Friedman National PTSD Brain Bank.”

Sites in Vermont, Boston, Maryland and Connecticut

Like the National Center for PTSD, the brain bank is organized as a consortium with sites across the United States. Friedman directs the initiative from the Center’s Executive Division in White River Junction, Vermont. The primary site for receiving brain tissue is the VA Medical Center in Boston in conjunction with the National Center’s Boston-based Behavioral Science Division. The secondary receiving site is at the VA Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. The USUHS in Bethesda, Maryland serves as the primary assessment site while the National Center’s Clinical Neurosciences Division in West Haven, Connecticut is the primary research site.

The Leahy-Friedman National PTSD Brain Bank will be a national resource to support VA and other academic researchers. As Friedman and co-author Dr. William W. Harris foretold in “Toward a National PTSD Brain Bank” (Winter 2004 special issue of Psychiatry , edited by Ursano), “It is expected that applicants who wish to utilize tissue housed in the brain bank would submit their proposals for peer review by a scientific committee convened for this purpose. Prioritization of submitted proposals would be conducted along time-tested peer review procedures.”

The Leahy-Friedman National PTSD Brain Bank is a major advancement in the fight against PTSD.

“Although we have learned a great deal about abnormalities in brain structure and function from brain imaging research, there is no substitute for looking at the neurons themselves,” said Friedman. “Understanding the cellular and circuit contributions to abnormal brain activity in PTSD is critical in the search for potential biomarkers of susceptibility, illness and treatment response and for developing new treatments targeting the conditions at the cellular level. The National PTSD Brain Bank’s findings should help pave the way for new approaches to diagnosis and treatment of individuals with PTSD.”

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2014/November/Brain-Bank-to-Help-in-Treatment-of-PTSD.asp

VA to Accept Proposals for New Scheduling System








VA to Accept Proposals for New Scheduling System

November 21, 2014, 11:43:00 AM





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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                


 November 21, 2014


 


VA to Accept Proposals for New Scheduling System


New system will replace 30-year-old legacy scheduling system


 


WASHINGTON – As part of The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) ongoing effort to improve Veterans’ access to healthcare, VA announced it has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new Medical Appointment Scheduling System (MASS)..  The new MASS technology will help improve access to care for Veterans by providing schedulers with state-of-the-art, management-based scheduling software.


“When it comes to the care of our Veterans, we want the best technology the American marketplace can provide,” said VA Secretary Robert McDonald. “A new and innovative scheduling system is an essential tool we must have in place to enable us to provide our Veterans with timely and high quality health care.”


The new system will replace a legacy scheduling system that has been in use at VA since 1985.  VA’s acquisition approach for the new scheduling solution remains full and open; any qualified vendor may compete. Potential bidders are not required to have prior experience working with VA.  Proposals are due on January 9, 2015.


VA released a draft “Performance Work Statement” to maximize industry and stakeholder input.  The feedback received from industry has been used to refine the requirements included in the final RFP.


“We are seeking vendors who will work closely with us and can meet our timeline,” said VA Chief Information Officer Stephen Warren.  “We are dedicated to finding the right partner to help us create and implement our modern scheduling system.”


The RFP requires industry to demonstrate technical capabilities via two methods; submission of a written proposal and participation in a structured product demonstration to evaluators (which include VA scheduling staff).  VA expects to award the contract by the spring of 2015.  The selected bidder will be tasked to provide a system that focuses on an achievable schedule to deliver core capabilities to all VA medical facilities within the first two years of the contract.  Remaining capabilities will be implemented nationally in a series of incremental enhancements throughout the contract period of performance. In addition to industry and stakeholder engagement, VA officials also worked with Veteran Service Organizations and the Northern Virginia Technology Council to better understand the needs of Veterans and incorporated the group’s feedback in the design of the RFP.


 To improve services to Veterans, VA also made several near-term modifications to its current system:


  • VA awarded a contract to improve the existing scheduling interface, providing schedulers with a calendar view of resources in lieu of the current text-based, multiple-screen view.  The update is scheduled to begin rollout January 2015

  • VA is developing mobile applications allowing Veterans to directly request certain types of primary care and mental health appointments (scheduled to begin deployment December 2014)

  • VA rolled out new clinical video telehealth capabilities in 2014 providing service to more than 690,000 Veterans.


 Other accomplishments of note to improve Veterans access to care include:


  • Implementation of the Choice Program: a new, temporary benefit that allows qualifying Veterans to receive health care in their communities rather than waiting for a VA appointment or traveling to a VA facility: The first round of cards was issued on November 5; the second round of cards was issued on November 17 to Veterans waiting more than 30 days from their preferred date or in cases considered medically necessary by the Veterans’ physician

  • Scheduling more than 1.2 million more appointments in the past four months than in the same period last year.  In total, VA medical centers have scheduled over 19 million Veteran appointments from June to October 1, 2014

  • Reducing the national new patient Primary Care wait time by 18 percent

  • Completing 98 percent of appointments within 30 days of the Veterans’ preferred date, or the date determined to be medically necessary by a physician

  • Authorizing 1.1 million non-VA care authorizations, a 47-percent increase over the same period last year

  • Increasing the amount of time providers can deliver care to Veterans by increasing the amount of clinic hours and adding weekend and evening clinics at VA medical centers.


Information about the RFP may be found at http://go.usa.gov/sVDP.  The RFP number is VA118-15-R-0715.  


 


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Quit Smoking for Your Health and Breathe Easier

Male Veteran on a beach inhailing the fresh air.

If you smoke, this year breathe easier. Make a plan to quit for your health.

November 20th is the Great American Smokeout. If you smoke, this year breathe easier. Make a plan to quit for your health and to quit for good! The benefits of quitting smoking are immediate and last a lifetime.

Here are some helpful tips and encouragement to help you kick your habit from Dr. Timothy P. Carmody, a clinical psychologist and smoking cessation specialist at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and University of California San Francisco. For the past several decades, Carmody has been helping Veterans quit smoking and stay quit.

You Can Do It!

As the old adage goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” For many Veterans, the idea of quitting smoking is overwhelming and mustering up the confidence to quit can be hard. It is often difficult to picture yourself successfully quitting, imagining a life without cigarettes, or dealing with cravings or other effects such as increased appetite and anxiety.

Be confident. You can quit and keep your confidence through every stage of the quit process.

Find Your Motivation and Support

Veterans quit for many different reasons – a spouse or partner, parents, friends or health. Many want to set a good example for children or grandchildren. Find your own motivation for quitting and lean on it through the quit process. Your motivation may also lend you support, such as family who can cheer you on or help lift you up. If you don’t have family or friends who can offer support, lean on your community, learn from former smokers or join a VA support group.

You May Relapse (and That’s OK)!

Throughout your journey to quit smoking, you may experience setbacks. In fact, most Veterans who successfully quit have relapsed at one point or another in the past. Your ultimate success in quitting will be built on the lessons learned from these setbacks. Do not get discouraged or feel like you have failed.

The only failure is to stop trying.

Get Complete Care

Veterans who smoke may also be in treatment for other health conditions such as mental health or substance use disorders. When seeking treatment for other health conditions, consider quitting smoking as part of your overall treatment or recovery.

Make a Quit Plan: VA Can Help!

Call 1-855-QUIT-VET to get started on your quit plan. Combine smoking cessation medication with counseling for the best chance of quitting. Talk with your health care provider about getting a prescription or recommendation for nicotine replacement therapy such as gum, patch, lozenge and other medications. VA offers counseling and several types of support:

  • One-on-one counseling by your primary health provider or a smoking cessation specialist.
  • Smoking cessation groups to help you provide and gain support from other Veterans navigating the quit process.
  • 1-855-QUIT-VET: VA’s smoking quitline that offers phone counseling in English or Spanish.
  • Text messaging support through SmokefreeVET and SmokefreeEspanol. Text the word VET to 47848 sign up.

Remember, it’s never too late to quit! Learn more about available smoking cessation resources.

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2014/November/Quit-Smoking-for-Your-Health-and-Breathe-Easier.asp

VA Implements Second Phase of Choice Card Program








VA Implements Second Phase of Choice Card Program

November 18, 2014, 10:52:00 AM





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 VA Implements Second Phase of Choice Card Program


Cards sent to Veterans waiting more than 30 days for care


Washington, DC – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it began mailing Veterans Choice Cards on November 17 to Veterans currently waiting more than 30-days from their preferred date or the date that is medically determined by their physician for an appointment at a VA facility.


 “VA continues to focus on implementation of this new temporary benefit so that Veterans receive the timely quality care they need in a way that reduces confusion and inefficiencies,” said Secretary Robert A. McDonald, who penned an open letter to Veterans announcing the implementation of the Choice Card program.


The Choice Program is a new, temporary benefit that allows some Veterans to receive health care in their communities rather than waiting for a VA appointment or traveling to a VA facility. The first round of cards along with a letter explaining the program was issued on November 5 to Veterans who are eligible based on their place of residence. VA is now engaging in the next phase of its rollout –eligibility explanation letters are being sent to Veterans waiting more than 30 days from their preferred date to be seen or considered medically necessary by their physician.


To improve service delivery, VA has prioritized efforts to accelerate Veterans off of wait lists and into clinics through the Accelerated Care Initiative begun over the summer. Through this initiative, VA medical centers have increased access to care inside and outside of VA, added more clinic hours and work days, deployed mobile medical units and shared their best practices from VA’s high-performing facilities throughout the organization.


 Significant improvements have resulted nationally:


  • Scheduling more than 1.2 million more appointments in the past four months than in the same period last year. In total, VA medical centers have scheduled over 19 million Veteran appointments from June to October 1, 2014;

  • Reducing the national new patient Primary Care wait time by 18 percent;

  • Completing 98 percent of appointments within 30 days of the Veterans’ preferred date, or the date determined to be medically necessary by a physician;

  • Authorizing 1.1 million non-VA care authorizations, a 47-percent increase over the same period last year; and

  • Increasing the amount of time providers could deliver care to Veterans by increasing the amount of clinic hours in primary and specialty care and through adding weekend and evening clinics at our medical centers.


 VA is America’s largest integrated health care system with over 1,700 sites of care, serving approximately 9 million Veterans enrolled in health care services.  The Choice Program is part of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA), enacted nearly three months ago, to enable VA to meet the demand for Veterans’ health care in the short-term.


 For more information about the Choice Program, call 1-866- 606-8198 or visit http://www.va.gov/opa/choiceact/.


 


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Just Saying No to Pain Meds

Image of a male doctor taking the pulse of a female patient.

Dr. Robert Friedman uses Chinese pulse diagnosis to determine deficiencies or excesses in a patient’s energy in order to guide acupuncture treatment. The technique is well over 2,000 years old.

Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple Inc., once made the following observation: “Less is more and usually more effective.”

Increasingly, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) appears to be taking the same view when it comes to dispensing pain medications. At the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, for example, a little less than three percent of the total patient population is on chronic opioid therapy. That’s five percent below the national percentage for patients receiving such drugs.

An opioid is a drug such as morphine or oxycodone. They ease pain, but they can also cause physical dependency.

The Right Reason

“Opioids have been around for 3,000 years,” said Dr. Robert Friedman, head of the medical center’s Pain Management Team. “They’ve been around that long for a reason. They work. But it’s important that we find the right dose, for the right patient, for the right reason. And that’s what our Pain Management Team here in Charleston does.

“We spend a lot of time learning about the patient,” he continued. “Because the fact is, there are a lot of Veterans who’ve been on opioid therapy for a long time who would do just as well, if not better, without opioids — or on a reduced dosage.”

During the last five years, Charleston’s Pain Management Team has helped more than 400 Veterans ease off their pain medications. “A big part of our success,” Friedman observed, “is getting patients involved in their own care, educating them about pain management and supporting them as they try alternative methods for dealing with chronic pain.

“There’s nothing magical about what we’re doing,” he added. “All we’re doing is taking the time to talk with our patients and learn about them.”

Twinkies and Milkshakes

The pain specialist said his team takes a holistic approach to treating each patient.

“Pain changes your brain,” he observed. “It captures territory associated with mood, emotional regulation and problem-solving. So we don’t just ask the patient how much pain they’re in. “We also ask them things like: ‘How are you sleeping? How is your mood? What is the quality of your life? How are you getting along with people around you? How much are you exercising? What are you eating?

‘What are you eating?’ That’s right. Diet and pain are interconnected. “Let’s face it,” Friedman said. “You’re not going to get rid of your pain by eating Twinkies and drinking milkshakes. You are what you eat.”

An Army Veteran, Friedman said he attacks his patients’ pain the same way he would attack an enemy on the battlefield with a team of highly trained professionals.

“We use an interdisciplinary team approach to pain management,” he explained. “This team includes the Veteran, doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and mental health professionals, all working together. We establish a personalized health plan with each Veteran to minimize their use of chronic opioids, reduce their pain levels through alternative methods and improve their quality of life.”

Plan B

So if you’re in chronic pain and they’re easing you off opioids, what’s Plan B?  (It better be good.)

Friedman said his team’s holistic approach to pain management involves various complimentary treatments and alternative therapies. “We use multiple tactics to take back your brain from the pain,” he said. “If we can, we prefer to use things like mindfulness meditation, yoga, herbals, fish oil, aromatherapy and acupuncture for Veteran patients living with chronic pain.”

“When Dr. Friedman puts those four needles in the top of my head, all the pain from my waist down is totally non-existent,” said 51-year-old Navy Veteran Steve Pulliam. “I can walk with no pain.  It all goes away. It’s amazing.”

Pulliam had been under the care of Friedman’s Pain Management Team due to a crushing injury to his right foot and an impact injury to his left knee — both sustained in separate incidents during his time in the Navy. Then came the cancer diagnosis in August 2013.

“They told me I had a large mass on my pancreas,” Pulliam said. “We tried some chemotherapy to shrink it, but it ended up spreading anyway. So we opted to discontinue chemo so I could have some quality of life with the time I have left. They tell me I have anywhere from six to 18 months.”

 You’re not feeling the pain, so you’re not thinking about it. It puts you square in the middle of calmness. 
— Steve Pulliam, pain patient at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston, S.C.

The Sound of the Ocean

Pulliam said he looks forward to his weekly visits to the Charleston VA’s Pain Management Team.

“These treatments they’re giving me are making a huge difference in the quality of my life that’s not attainable by any other means,” he said. “It gives you a sense of well-being and eases your mental and physical tensions.  It’s amazing when they put the needles in … the gastrointestinal pain goes away, the orthopedic pain goes away.”

But acupuncture is just one of many tools in the Pain Team’s toolbox.

“They use body oils … lavender and rosemary,” Pulliam said. “They put that on your stomach. After a few minutes you can actually taste it. After a few more minutes, you start to feel the effects. The lavender calms the pain in your gut and the rosemary helps with your overall calmness. They also have soft music playing in the background, or something relaxing like the sound of rain falling, or the sound of the ocean.

“I know it all sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo,” he added. “But it works.  I’m proof of that.”

Then there’s the heat lamp.

“They use an infrared lamp to heat up certain parts of my thoracic area,” said the Navy Veteran. “The heat penetrates your skin and reaches the organs inside, warming them up. So you’ve got the heat, the needles and the oils, all working together. You feel like you’re on vacation in the islands, lying on the beach, soaking in the sun. You’re not feeling the pain, so you’re not thinking about it. It puts you square in the middle of calmness. All your stress, all your worries go away. You’re free.”

But how long does the vacation in the islands last? The pain stays away for about a day-and-a-half, on average, Pulliam reported.

“If you can take away the hurt for just a little while, it makes all the difference in the world,” he said. “It gives you more strength, more power more endurance to keep going. It resets your hope meter.”

To learn more about pain management at the VA, visit  www.va.gov/PAINMANAGEMENT/Clinical_Resources.asp

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2014/November/Just-Saying-No-to-Pain-Meds.asp

VA To Hold Small Business Engagement in Atlanta Next Month








VA To Hold Small Business Engagement in Atlanta Next Month

November 13, 2014, 03:21:00 PM





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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        


 


November 13, 2014   


 


 


VA To Hold Small Business Engagement in Atlanta Next Month


 Annual Event to Increase Contract Opportunities for Small Veteran-Owned Businesses  


 


Washington, DC – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in collaboration with other federal agencies and partners, will sponsor the 4th annual National Veterans Small Business Engagement (NVSBE), December 9-11, 2014, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga.


The premier event for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses, the NVSBE is expected to attract as many as 3,000 attendees offering the chance to learn best practices from federal and commercial procurement decision makers. More than 400 exhibitors and 25 government agencies along with private industry partners, such as Lockheed Martin, Document Storage System, Inc. (DSS) and Boeing, will also participate in the event. The theme of this year’s event, ACCESS, is focused on promoting and supporting small Veteran-owned business’ access to economic opportunity.


“VA is committed to increasing the number of Veteran-owned small businesses,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “The NVSBE demonstrates our commitment by offering Veteran business owners the tools they need to thrive in the federal marketplace. We want to do all that we can to help our Veterans be successful.”


The Engagement provides numerous opportunities for important relationships to start and thrive.


“One of the greatest challenges for small business owners is to connect with decision makers who can help them grow their businesses,” said Thomas J. Leney, Executive Director of VA’s Small and Veteran Business Programs. “NVSBE provides small businesses a solution to meet that challenge.”


For more information about the 4th annual NVSBE, visit www.nvsbe.com.


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VA’s Center for Women Veterans Partners with the Center for American Women and Politics








VA’s Center for Women Veterans Partners with the Center for American Women and Politics

November 10, 2014, 05:15:00 PM





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VA’s Center for Women Veterans Partners with the Center for American Women and Politics


The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Center for Women Veterans (Center) entered into a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, to increase women Veterans’ leadership and career opportunities, which will benefit the Nation’s workforce and address women Veterans growing needs. 


The MoA will allow the Center and CAWP to leverage existing resources and increase coordination of activities to help women Veterans develop public service and community engagement skill sets, so they will be prepared for public and community service opportunities.


“Women Veterans often contact us for information about how they can continue serving,” says Elisa M. Basnight, Director of the Center for Women Veterans.  “This MoA with the Center for American Women and Politics presents a prime opportunity for the Center to help prepare them for other forms of public service as it responds to a persistent need women Veterans tell us they have, which is the desire to continue to make a difference after the uniform.”  


The Center, created in 1994 to monitor VA’s administration of benefits and services to women Veterans and to advise the Secretary on VA policy’s impact on Women Veterans, can provide advice to CAWP’s on how it focuses its resource information to address women Veterans’ issues.


CAWP is a source of scholarly research and current data about American women’s political participation.   Its mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding about women’s participation in politics and government and to enhance women’s influence and leadership in public life.


“The Center for American Women and Politics is delighted to collaborate with the Center for Women Veterans to provide more information and resources for women Veterans who want to engage more fully in their communities. Women who have already put their country first by serving in the military are exactly the people we need as public leaders,” said Debbie Walsh, Director of the Center for American Women and Politics.


Women Veterans represent one of the fastest growing segments of the Veterans population—about 10 percent of the total 22 million Veterans in this country.  Today there are an estimated 2.2 million female Veterans.  The Center for Women Veterans participates in collaborative initiatives with Federal/state/local governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, to improve opportunities for women Veterans.  


For more information about women Veterans, visit www.va.gov/womenvet.


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VA’s Center for Women Veterans Partners with the Center for American Women and Politics








VA’s Center for Women Veterans Partners with the Center for American Women and Politics

November 10, 2014, 05:15:00 PM





Printable Version




 


VA’s Center for Women Veterans Partners with the Center for American Women and Politics


The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Center for Women Veterans (Center) entered into a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, to increase women Veterans’ leadership and career opportunities, which will benefit the Nation’s workforce and address women Veterans growing needs. 


The MoA will allow the Center and CAWP to leverage existing resources and increase coordination of activities to help women Veterans develop public service and community engagement skill sets, so they will be prepared for public and community service opportunities.


“Women Veterans often contact us for information about how they can continue serving,” says Elisa M. Basnight, Director of the Center for Women Veterans.  “This MoA with the Center for American Women and Politics presents a prime opportunity for the Center to help prepare them for other forms of public service as it responds to a persistent need women Veterans tell us they have, which is the desire to continue to make a difference after the uniform.”  


The Center, created in 1994 to monitor VA’s administration of benefits and services to women Veterans and to advise the Secretary on VA policy’s impact on Women Veterans, can provide advice to CAWP’s on how it focuses its resource information to address women Veterans’ issues.


CAWP is a source of scholarly research and current data about American women’s political participation.   Its mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding about women’s participation in politics and government and to enhance women’s influence and leadership in public life.


“The Center for American Women and Politics is delighted to collaborate with the Center for Women Veterans to provide more information and resources for women Veterans who want to engage more fully in their communities. Women who have already put their country first by serving in the military are exactly the people we need as public leaders,” said Debbie Walsh, Director of the Center for American Women and Politics.


Women Veterans represent one of the fastest growing segments of the Veterans population—about 10 percent of the total 22 million Veterans in this country.  Today there are an estimated 2.2 million female Veterans.  The Center for Women Veterans participates in collaborative initiatives with Federal/state/local governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, to improve opportunities for women Veterans.  


For more information about women Veterans, visit www.va.gov/womenvet.


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Source Article from http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=2658


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