Posted in Veterans News

UCLA, VA launch first-of-its-kind family wellness center, new legal clinic for veterans

For veterans at risk of homelessness, the tipping point can be as trivial as a jaywalking ticket.

Too often, a veteran can’t afford to pay the fee for that ticket, and then can’t get to court to explain the circumstances — perhaps because of a lack of access to public transportation, an inability to miss a day of work or crippling depression. Late-payment fines are tacked on to the original fine. A court warrant, a revoked driver’s license and a ruined credit history follow.

What might have seemed like a trivial citation has spiraled into a serious obstacle to being approved for housing, finding employment, driving to doctor’s appointments and reintegrating into civilian life.

► Media advisory: UCLA, VA representatives to introduce new centers for veterans

Those situations are destabilizing and surprisingly common for veterans, sometimes contributing to homelessness and mental illness. That’s part of why UCLA and the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System have partnered to open a new legal clinic and a wellness center; a program focusing on homelessness is currently in development and is scheduled to open soon.

The expanded UCLA–VA partnership aims to fill gaps in…

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Veterans Deal with Diabetes at Unique Camp

Veterans share their stories at Diabetes Camp in the woods of Wisconsin

By Gary J. Kunich Public Affairs Officer Milwaukee Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Steve Biever was slowly dying and nobody knew why. There were blinding headaches, loss of vision and unexplainable pains. Getting out of bed was a chore. Deep depression set in.

Then he met Carole Cole, a nurse and certified diabetic educator at the Appleton VA Clinic. “Have you ever had an A1c?” she asked.

A1c is a diabetic test to see how well your body controls the amount of sugar in the blood. Normal levels are between 4 and 5.6 percent. Biever’s were over 11 percent — far into the danger zone on the glucose scale, with a high risk of severe complications, including organ failure. He was only 43, but his…

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Women Veterans, Depression and Heart Disease

Are you a female Veteran who’s anxious or depressed? Then chances are you may be at a higher risk for heart disease.

Not exactly an uplifting thought, but it’s the conclusion of a recent study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University School of Medicine. The study appears in the Journal of Women’s Health.

“We found that midlife and older women Veterans with depression had a 60 percent greater chance of having coronary artery disease than those without depression,” said Dr. Megan Gerber, medical director of women’s health at the VA Boston Healthcare System. “And that’s regardless of whether they smoked or not.”

She added: “We also found that with each additional mental health condition — say anxiety, for example — your risk for heart disease goes up by another 40 percent.”

Gerber and her team studied the data of 157,000 women Veterans over the age of 45 to examine the relationship between coronary artery disease and the presence of one or more mental health conditions. (Coronary artery disease causes a waxy substance called plaque — cholesterol deposits — to build up on the inside of your coronary arteries. These are…

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VA Telehealth saves Florida Veteran time, travel

Army Veteran Jeffrey Weinstock meets with Dr. Erica Dombrowsky, audiologist, through Clinical Video Telehealth.

By Jason Dominguez Public Affairs Specialist/Webmaster OIF Army Veteran Miami VA Healthcare System

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Retired Army Major Jeffrey Weinstock has been wearing hearing aids for nearly 30 years after artillery fire during his service in Vietnam damaged his hearing. After moving to Key West from New York, he was expecting a difficult transition changing VA facilities and replacing his old hearing aids.

During his first visit to the Key West VA Outpatient Clinic, he was surprised. He was able to quickly and seamlessly transfer his VA health care to the Miami VA Healthcare System and even schedule lab and medical appointments. He met with Dr. Douglas Bond to discuss…

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Military Strikes Continue Against ISIS Terrorists in Syria, Iraq > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article


SOUTHWEST ASIA, Jan. 5, 2018 —

U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria between Dec. 29, 2017, and yesterday, conducting 58 strikes consisting of 84 engagements, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials reported details of the most recent strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

On Jan. 4, near Abu Kamal in Syria, coalition military forces conducted four strikes consisting of five engagements against ISIS target, destroying an ISIS supply route, a fighting position and a vehicle-borne bomb.

On Jan. 3, near Abu Kamal, coalition military forces conducted nine strikes consisting of 12 engagements against ISIS targets, destroying two ISIS lines of communication, a heavy weapon, four fighting positions, an ISIS vehicle, a logistics center and an ISIS supply route.

On Jan. 2, near Abu Kamal, coalition military forces conducted nine strikes consisting of 10 engagements against ISIS targets, destroying an ISIS supply route, an indirect fire weapon, two fighting positions, two heavy machine guns, two unmanned…

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Army Mentors Prepare High Schoolers for Success > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article


By Army Sgt. Christopher Hernandez

345th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment


SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 5, 2018 —

On a brightly lit football field inside the Alamodome here, a disparate chorus of clamor and musical instruments reverberates throughout the structure as high school football players and band members practice for the performance of their lives, the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

These young men and women train with soldier mentors, elite members of the Army fit to provide professional guidance and inspiration.

Soldier mentors are a prominent feature of All-American Bowl Game Week, an annual event that highlights the nation’s foremost high school football players and marching band teams.

“We do this every year because it’s a great way to put the Army’s message out,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Brian Waters, a native of Orlando, Florida. “We let the students know that we’re here for them, answer any questions that they have, and lift them up and support them in their future endeavors.”

In addition to attending practices and events throughout the week, the soldier mentors also engage with the players in…

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Survey Indicates Higher Satisfaction With Military Medical Facilities > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article


WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2018 —

Results of the Defense Department’s Joint Outpatient Experience Survey, or JOES, are in for 2017, and soldiers, retirees and family members reported very high overall satisfaction — 93 percent — with their experience at Army medical treatment facilities, the senior health policy analyst with the Office of the Army Surgeon General said.

Melissa Gliner said the other two big metrics are ease of access to Army providers, which was rated 83 percent positive, the highest in the military health services, and overall experience with Army pharmacies, which was rated 78 percent positive.

The results of the survey show an overall increase in satisfaction of about 2 percent for those three questions compared to 2016, the year the Army first participated in the survey, she said.

Strict Confidentiality

About 2.7 million surveys go out annually to about 10 percent of patients who have visited a military health facility in a random selection process, she said. At first, only paper surveys were distributed, but since last month, a website has been set up for taking the two-page survey.

Strict confidentiality is maintained at all…

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Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Flies Navy Jack in 2018 ‘Forged with Purpose’ > U.S. Pacific Command > 2015

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — Sailors hoisted the colors crisp and promptly to start the New Year Jan. 1. Throughout 2018 the First Navy Jack will rise under Old Glory, renewing a culture of tradition and resolve at Pearl Harbor.

Rear Adm. Brian P. Fort, commander, Navy Region Hawaii, ordered the flying of the First Navy Jack as a tribute to Sailors lost in 2017 and as a reminder of a renewed warfighting culture forged with purpose in 2018.

“Here in Pearl Harbor, we rose to the challenge 76 years ago as ‘Remember Pearl Harbor’ sharpened our warfighting culture,” Fort said.

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will fly the “Don’t Tread on Me” Union Jack throughout 2018 to honor the 17 Sailors who died aboard USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).

It’s unclear when exactly the U.S. Navy first adopted the First Union Jack as we know it. What is certain — is when the country and our Navy has faced difficult times the flag has risen on the bow of the ship, signifying resolve.

“In the wake of 9/11, when our culture was tested, we rose to the challenge once more. At the direction of the Secretary of the Navy, Gordon England, we returned to our First Navy Jack, ‘Don’t Tread on Me,’…

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Mattis Speaks to Reporters About South Asia, North Korea, Iran > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article


WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2018 —

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis discussed strategy in South Asia, issues on the Korean Peninsula and Iranian illicit weapons activities, in an impromptu discussion with Pentagon reporters today.

“We’ll fight them,” the secretary said, when asked about the strategy in Afghanistan against the terrorists with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria operating there.

Probably the most challenging part in making assessments in combat is that what counts most in war, including morale levels, is most difficult to quantify.

“Eventually you’ll see a lagging indicator — you’ll see that not as many people want to be recruited into a force that’s getting annihilated,” such as ISIS was in Syria, he said, adding that not as many foreign fighters will sign up for that.

Speaking to Pentagon reporters for the second consecutive day, Mattis said the strategy in South Asia reinforces some of the troops in the region.

“We found some forces didn’t have the American advisors they needed, and the ones with advisors seemed to always win,” he said. ”The ones without them did not fare so well.” The strategy is a regional…

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