Posted in Veterans News

Second Lady Karen Pence advocates for art therapy to help Fort Hood soldiers

KILLEEN — Second Lady Karen Pence on Monday afternoon visited Killeen, where she addressed the Texas Creative Forces conference underway at the Shilo Inn and advocated on behalf of art therapy as a means of healing current and former military members in Central Texas.

Monday marked day one of the two-day Creative Forces event, which was part of a joint pro-arts initiative between the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs. State and local arts agencies also provided support.

The Creative Forces Military Healing Arts Network has worked to build community-based military and family support for arts programs in and around Fort Hood. Members of the network say art programs can help our veterans cope with PTSD.

“Art therapy is saving lives,” Mrs. Pence said.

Pence told the story of a soldier she met who used clay to help his mind avoid dark places.

“So, yes, arts therapy is powerful in the military population — really powerful,” Mrs. Pence said. “But, it is there for everybody.”

National Endowment for the Arts Creative Forces Project Director Bill O’Brien says Pence’s participation in summits likes these is a real inspiration…a kind of…

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Military, Veterans and advocates selected as special guests at tonight’s State of the Union address

At President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address tonight in Washington, D.C., service members, Veterans and a young Veteran advocate have been invited to sit in the gallery as guests during the address.

The tradition started back in 1982 when President Ronald Reagan invited Lenny Skutnik to sit with Mrs. Reagan during his speech. Skutnik had gained national attention nearly two weeks earlier when he dove into the icy waters of the Potomac River in the aftermath of the Florida Flight 90 crash to save Priscilla Tirado who had lost her grip on a helicopter life line and slipped back into the water.

Reagan recognized Skutnik’s heroism during the speech, which led to a standing ovation. Since then, every president has invited special guests to sit in the gallery during the remarks

According to the White House, among those joining First Lady Melania Trump in the gallery tonight are:

Retired Cpl. Matthew Bradford: Bradford joined the United States Marine Corps straight out of high school and deployed to Iraq in 2006. In 2007, he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). Shrapnel shot into both of his eyes, blinding him and the explosion also took both of his legs….

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Coast Guard considers EHR partnership with DoD, VA

Seven years later, and with nearly $60 million sunk into the project, the Coast Guard has nothing show for an electronic health record contract it killed for falling behind schedule and going over its budget.

And the bills are still coming due.

After scrapping its Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS) contract in October 2015 and decommissioning the two legacy electronic health record systems IHiS was meant to replace, the Coast Guard has reverted back to using paper health records in its clinics.

Under its software-as-a-service agreement, the Coast Guard has no equipment or software it can reuse for its next attempt at standing up a new EHR system.


“Because it’s a software as a service, once we stop paying for those services, we don’t have a final product to show,” Rear Adm. Erica Schwartz, the Coast Guard’s director of health, safety and work-life, said Tuesday at a subcommittee hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Still, the Coast Guard will pay more than $5 million to contractors next month.

“Nearly two and a half years after cancellation, we are still paying contractors,” said David Powner, the Government…

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Do You Know the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer? — Veterans Health Administration

Early detection makes a big difference in a woman’s chance of surviving.

by Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer

Monday, October 7, 2013

October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Two very important words that can save lives: early detection.

Women Veterans are encouraged to add those two words to their calendar every month as reminders. And, then follow up: talk with your health care provider about appropriate breast cancer screenings, such as regular mammograms.

Mammograms can detect breast cancer early and early detection makes a big difference in a woman’s chances of surviving. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that women age 50 years or older should have a screening mammogram every two years. Both men and women can develop breast cancer, though male breast cancer is rare.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Women Veterans should be aware of breast cancer all year long. VA seeks to help women Veterans improve their overall health by providing general and gender specific health care.

It’s important that you keep your own prevention scorecard and talk to your provider throughout the year.

State of the art digital mammography equipment is available at many VA medical…

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Military Receives Free Tax Preparation at VITA Locations > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article



WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2018 —

Free, in-person tax preparation services are available now for active duty members, retirees and dependents, according to Army Lt. Col. David Dulaney, the executive director of the Armed Forces Tax Council.

“It’s a wonderful program, because it’s us taking care of us,” Dulaney said about the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, services. The Armed Forces Tax Council oversees the program.

The Defense Department and the IRS are working together and providing the VITA services at military installations throughout the United States and world, he said.

Preparers Trained for Complex Tax Situations

Taxes for military members are complicated, Dulaney pointed out, noting frequent moves and deployments and the fact that tax laws change every year.

The VITA preparers receive extensive training through the Defense Department and the IRS on the situations faced in the military community, such as combat zone tax benefits, extensions to file and pay, and special rules for the earned income tax credit, he said.

“I really encourage members to go into the VITA centers within the Department of Defense, because we understand their…

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Isakson questions panel at Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Hearing on NAFTA negotiations

Isakson questions panel at Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Hearing on NAFTA negotiations

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Secretary of the Air Force Visits Osan, Reaffirms Republic of Korea-U.S. Alliance > U.S. Pacific Command > 2015

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea — Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson visited Team Osan while on a trip to the Republic of Korea (RoK) from Jan. 27-30, 2018.

Wilson visited to reaffirm commitment to the RoK and U.S. alliance, highlight U.S. Air Force cooperation with allies, and ensure Airmen stationed abroad had the opportunity to hear from their senior leaders.

“No place on the world is it more important than here, now, for our Airmen [and allies] to be ready,” said Wilson. “And here on the Korean Peninsula, you Airmen are laser focused.”

She spoke about some of the challenges the U.S. Air Force is enduring and the importance of readiness and having no regrets when it comes to future operations.

“The most important thing we’re focused on across the entire Air Force is readiness. Making sure we’re ready for any fight at any time and that’s no more important than here in Korea,” said Wilson. “We need to make sure that every Airmen is ready to do the job that we are going to ask them to do on any day.”

An all call was also held in which Wilson, along with U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, spoke with members from Osan AB.

“The main…

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February is Heart Month – A Veteran nurse’s story

February is American Heart Month. VA Women’s Health Services in collaboration with the American Heart Association is joining this national movement to raise awareness and education about heart disease and stroke among women Veterans.

Nurse Betty Canar receiving captain’s bars in Korat, Thailand, April, 1968

Here is one Veteran’s story…..

Betty Canar served as the head nurse at the 31st Field Hospital, Korat, Thailand, from 1967 to 1969.

Her focus of consistently providing the best possible care for her patients earned her the Army Commendation Medal.

“Excellent care for all patients has been my passion dating back to my first assignment at Fitzsimons Army Hospital as I cared for the many injured Veterans returning from the battlefield in Vietnam.”

She credits Col. Martha Cleveland, Chief Nurse, as being instrumental in “guiding me in my position and remained my mentor and friend for 40 years.”

Canar served as the nurse for the Bob Hope Show in Thailand in 1968 and recalls,“ These shows increased the morale of our men in uniform who were getting negative responses from home.”

It’s important to Know Your Numbers

She attended the Asian Nurses Convention in Bangkok…

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Partnership Helps Nurses Learn to Care for Vets — Veterans Health Administration

Emory School of Nursing students discuss therapeutic programming and communication with Atlanta VA

Medical Center nursing staff.

by Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer

Thursday, October 10, 2013

VA Atlanta and Emory University School of Nursing Benefit from Innovative Teaching Model

Almost 100 student nurses in Atlanta have gained a unique understanding of what a Veteran with mental health problems is going through.

As part of their training, they have worked closely with Veterans in a psychiatric unit as part of a new approach to prepare them for the real world of a nurse’s clinical practice.

VA and Emory University School of Nursing are partners in an innovative collaborative teaching model that has redefined the roles of clinical faculty at Emory and bedside registered nurses at the Atlanta VA Medical Center.

The student nurses at Emory are assigned to a Dedicated Education Unit, a model that enhances clinical teaching of students through their engagement with an assigned clinical instructor, a VA staff nurse, who is supported by a member of the Emory clinical faculty.

Students in the program are paired with the same clinical instructor for their entire rotation. Each clinical…

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