Posted in Veterans News

552 – Center talk explores VA’s commitments to LGBT healthcare – Gay Lesbian Bi Trans News Archive

Even with federal government policy seemingly fluctuating with the whims of the White House, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ( VA ) remains committed to administering the healthcare needs of LGBT patients, according to a VA staff member who spoke Jan. 18 at Center on Halsted about the intricacies of that work.


Lorry Luscrie—who is LGBT veteran-care coordinator at Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital—spoke about her position as part of the Center’s Trans Talk series. Vanessa Sheridan, the Center’s director of transgender programs and community engagement, moderated the talk.


Luscrie has been in the LGBT-focused role for about 18 months. She has working with the VA for several years in another full-time capacity, and accepted the additional responsibilities and titles eagerly.


“I never imagined I would be sitting here with a business card that said ‘LGBT veteran care coordinator,’” she said.


In her talk, she emphasized her institution’s relatively robust commitment to care for its LGBT patients and clients, offering trainings ensuring staff cultural competency, for example, and establishing comprehensive anti-discrimination policies.


Some disparities remained, Luscrie admitted, noting that the…

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Veterans Tell Their Stories — Veterans Health Administration

Veteran Jennifer Sluga, 26, tells her story to Thor Ringler, a writer and therapist at the Madison VA.

by Tom Cramer, VA Staff Writer

Thursday, March 20, 2014

When you’re meeting your new doctor for the first time, do you want her to know that you were wounded during the Tet Offensive in 1968 while trying to pull a wounded comrade out of harm’s way? And that a month later you accidentally shot that same guy in the leg and crippled him for life?

Do you want her to know you fell out of tree when you were 11 and broke your arm? Or that it was your best friend who actually pushed you out of the tree, and that you’ve had a hard time trusting people ever since?

Well, if you want that kind of stuff in your medical chart, the nice people at the VA in Madison, Wis., will be happy to accommodate you. With your permission, someone will come into your hospital room and spend an hour or so listening and writing, while you tell them your life story.

Stories R Us

“We give you our undivided attention,” said Thor Ringler, a writer and therapist with the Madison VA who spends his days listening to patients tell their stories. “We’re there to be a listening presence. You talk. We…

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IG community takes next step to close the FISMA gap between auditors, CIOs

It’s been a long-time coming, but the inspector general community is poised in the next year to measure agency progress in securing their systems and data in a new way.

The Council on IG Integrity and Efficiency Subcommittee on IT has been working with the Office of Management and Budget, the Homeland Security Department, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Government Accountability Office over the past few years on a new cyber maturity model to close the gap between auditors and chief information officers in how they determine their agency’s cyber posture.

Tammy Whitcomb is the Postal Service’s acting IG and chairperson of the IT subcommittee.

Tammy Whitcomb, the Postal Service’s acting IG and chairperson of the IT subcommittee, said 2018 will be the first year for IGs and agencies to use the cyber maturity model to its fullest.


“Prior to 2017, we had part of the NIST cybersecurity framework covered by the model. But in 2017, we were able to cover all the domains in the NIST cybersecurity framework in the FISMA maturity model,” Whitcomb said on Ask the CIO. “When we first rolled out the maturity model in 2015, we just included the…

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DoD, VA Release Online Tool to Help Vets With Discharge Upgrade Process > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article



WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2018 —

A joint initiative between the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments has yielded a web-based tool that will provide customized guidance to veterans who desire to upgrade or change the conditions of their military discharge.

“We are thrilled to have partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs in developing this wonderful and easily accessible tool,” said Robert Wilkie, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. “We support our veterans, whether they served recently or long ago, and we are excited to introduce a tool that will individualize the guidance for those who desire an upgrade or change in their military discharge.”

Over the years, some veterans have criticized the review process as daunting or difficult to understand, Pentagon officials said, noting that supplemental guidance over the past few years, while helpful to many, has the side effect of creating multiple guidance documents that can be confusing. Furthermore, officials said, some veterans suffer from mental health or other conditions that make tasks like these more difficult for them than for others.

Simplified, Customized Guidance

The new online tool simplifies…

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“Why Slow Down?” — Veterans Health Administration

“Deno” Cedeño and his wife Gwen

by Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer

Monday, March 31, 2014

National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic

March 30-April 4, Snowmass Village, CO

“Deno” Cedeño lost his leg to an improvised explosive device while on a foot patrol in Afghanistan.

On the day he received his prosthetic device, he spent eight hours up and walking around. This week he will be snowboarding on a mountain in Colorado.

“I was given a second chance, so why slow down?” asked Cedeño.

As his wife Gwen puts it, “He gets up every day and pushes himself as hard as he possibly can. He is such a powerful and impressive person and I’m so proud of him every day.”

Cedeno is one of nearly 400 Veterans participating this week in the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic at Snowmass Village in Colorado.

The annual event is a world-leader in adaptive winter sports instruction for U.S. military Veterans and active duty servicemen and women with disabilities.

I wanted to prove to everyone that I would do everything I could do before my injuries.

Eight Months from Combat to Clinic

A full year had not passed after the explosion that changed the course of Kristian…

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Osan Personnel Get Familiar with Apache > U.S. Pacific Command > 2015

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea — On a frigid Osan afternoon, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) firefighters and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) personnel converged on the flightline to get lifesaving helicopter extraction and familiarity training.

U.S. Army Maj. Laura Fryar and Capt. Rebecca Marshall, 4-2 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion operations officer and assistant operations officer, flew their AH-64 Apache helicopter from Camp Humphreys to Osan to provide base emergency services personnel with vital knowledge ensuring they can effectively and efficiently manage an emergency related to the aircraft.

“We do a lot of operations in and around Osan,” said Fryar. “So, it is important that if we need to utilize the base as an emergency recovery airfield for us that the fire department and EOD understand the capabilities and limitations of the aircraft.

“One of the biggest factors during an emergency is time,” she continued. “So, if they are unsure how to approach the aircraft, or if they do something that is inherently dangerous, then we’ll have to spend more time trying to save the situation versus getting the pilots out safely and making sure that everybody…

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Study to Help Women Vets Coping with MST — Veterans Health Administration

VA researcher Autumn Gallegos (L) and students Brenda Voorhees (C) and Kelly Lannon practice their Warrior 2 pose during a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center.

by Tom Cramer, VA Staff Writer

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Department of Veterans Affairs is preparing to launch a study this year to determine if a practice called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction can help relieve symptoms of posttraumatic stress in women Veterans suffering from military sexual trauma (MST).

About one in five women in the military will report experiencing sexual trauma while serving their country.

“That’s about 20 percent of women Veterans,” said Dr. Autumn Gallegos, a researcher with VA’s Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention in Canandaigua, NY. “Exposure to MST is a significant public health concern and is associated with both mental and physical health burdens, including risk of suicide.”

Gallegos said the negative mental health consequences of military sexual trauma are extensive, and include posttraumatic stress and other anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse.

Returning to the Scene of the Crime

“A traumatic event, such a sexual…

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NATO Deputy Stresses Alliance’s Dedication to Turkey > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article



WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2018 —

During the Cold War, Turkey was on NATO‘s front line facing the Soviet Union.

Today, Turkey is still a front-line state now facing the instability and turmoil stemming from the Middle East, NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said in Istanbul Jan. 23.

Gottemoeller, who previously served as a U.S. undersecretary of state, spoke at the Turkish National Defense University.

And Turks have suffered, she said. Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorist forces operating in Iraq and Syria have tried to use Turkey as a transit point and have carried out numerous horrific attacks in Turkish cities. Another terrorist group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, emanates from within Turkey’s borders, and has waged its bloody campaign for four decades. In fact, Turkey is the only NATO country with an active insurgency inside its borders.

“Your country has suffered a series of brutal terrorist attacks,” Gottemoeller said, “and I want you to know that NATO stands in solidarity with Turkey in the fight against terrorism.”

Commitment to Collective Defense

Gottemoeller stressed to the Turkish officers that NATO is a…

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How Can I Live a Healthier Life? — Veterans Health Administration

Jump start your health by getting better informed, developing healthy habits, and enrolling in health care.

by Prachi Patel, Public Affairs Specialist, VHA Office of Public Health

Monday, April 7, 2014

Start Here, Start Today

National Public Health Week, April 7-13

Have you ever felt that everyone around you offers, at times unsolicited, health advice and tips?

Between friends and family, health care providers and the media, we are bombarded by healthy living messages.

Intellectually, we all realize the importance of eating well, exercising regularly and not smoking. But many of us live busy, hectic lives and it’s easy to get off track.

VA wants to remind you it’s never too late to get back on track and start taking steps towards a healthier you. April 7-13 is National Public Health Week. Sponsored by the American Public Health Association, this year’s theme is Public Health: Start Here. It’s the perfect time to jump start your health by getting better informed, developing healthy habits and enrolling in health care.

So start here, start today and see you at the finish line!

It’s never too late to get back on track and start taking steps towards a healthier you.

Start Here:…

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