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1. Time for troops to think about absentee ballots. The Republican presidential nomination could be all but sewn up after tomorrow’s South Carolina primary, but Army voting officials are reminding soldiers that doesn’t mean election season is finished.
2. Are new technologies to blame for combat zone misconduct? At a time when the U.S. military is moving toward equipping individual soldiers with government-issued smartphones and similar devices, could the increasingly powerful technologies themselves be helping to create behavior problems, not to mention public-relations nightmares for the Pentagon?
3. SD war veteran discusses living with PTSD. San Francisco Examiner Nearly a quarter of the 1 million veterans who left active duty since serving in Iraq or Afghanistan were diagnosed with a mental health problem, according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. For Pourier and these other veterans of …
4. Iraq war vets will be State of the Union guests. AirForceTimes.com Jeff Miller, R-Fla., the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman who has been trying to sell the bring-a-veteran idea to other lawmakers. Jones, who works as a legislative fellow for the veterans’ committee on loan from the Army, said he has met …
5. Homeless veteran population declines. Pryor Daily Times As the US Department of Veterans Affairs continues its efforts aimed at eliminating veteran homelessness nationwide by 2015, the Muskogee VA Regional Office is making substantial progress locally for Oklahoma veterans. …
6. UK Should Learn From VA’s Experiences With Telehealth, Report Says. iHealthBeat
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service would benefit from emulating telehealth services developed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Health Administration, according to a recent report by not-for-profit group 2020health, …
7. Yale “joins forces” in veteran care. Yale Daily News Joining Forces has 20 sponsors nationwide, with the American Hospital Association as its main sponsor. There were 237696 veterans in the state of Connecticut in 2010, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
8. Veterans of homeland defense: State still working to identify Territorial. Anchorage Press It’s been about 19 months since state workers have documented a previously unknown living veteran of the ATG. That doesn’t mean the job is finished, but it is a clear sign of progress. Bowen joined the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in May …
9. Purple Heart takes 40-plus years to reach Vietnam veteran from Fennville. The Republic The decisive piece of evidence that convinced the US Department of Veterans Affairs that Beam did indeed qualify for the Purple Heart. This past Sunday, the 63-year-old Air Force veteran accepted …
10. DoD Studies Intimacy Issues Among Combat Vets. Army Times “With an estimated 400,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan thought to have suffered an injury – either physical or mental – in the combat zones, the Pentagon, civilian behavioral health specialists and military couples are starting to talk about…the fact that both visible and unseen combat injuries are wreaking havoc with the sex lives of service members and veterans.” Last “year, the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress in Bethesda, Md., launched ‘Courage to Talk,’ an effort to help military doctors and patients communicate on this sensitive topic. Two studies also are underway at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda to help couples with intimacy issues associated with combat wounds, said Dr. Stephen Cozza, CSTS associate director.”
More Veteran News
- Disability Review Board “Invite” Letters Going To 75,000 Veterans. Stars And Stripes “For all the good it can do, a big problem” for the Physical Disability Review Board (PDBR) “is this: It has been operating since June of 2009, and raising disability ratings on 45 percent of cases reviewed, but only 2700 veterans from an eligibility pool of 77,000 have applied to have their ratings reviewed.” But after US Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) asked Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to help get the word out about the PDBR, VA and the PDBR “will begin a phased mailing this month of information packets on the PDBR to every qualified veteran with a current home address on file at VA.” This week, Udall “praised the interagency cooperation.”
- VA Kicks Off Acquisition Training Program For Wounded Vets. Federal Computer Week The US Department Of Veterans Affairs “formally launched its new program designed to train wounded vets to become acquisition professionals with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Jan. 19 at its Frederick, Md., facilities. The VA Acquisition Academy Acquisition Internship School’s Warriors to Workforce Program places wounded veterans with disabilities into a three-year internship that provides them with the training and education to qualify for a career as a contracting specialist.” At Thursday’s ceremony, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki described the “program’s goals as ‘something very unique'” and urged the “inaugural class to take advantage of the opportunity.”
- US Military Women Exposed To More Combat Than Ever Before. HealthDay “Female American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have been involved in more combat than in prior wars and have the same post-traumatic stress disorder rate as men, a new study has found.” HealthDay adds, “The findings have important implications for the Veterans Affairs health care system, according to lead study author Shira Maguen,” a clinical psychologist at the VA hospital in San Francisco. In a news release, Maguen said, “If women are indeed being exposed to combat stressors at a higher rate than in prior eras, we have to be prepared to provide the services they need, and take into account the impact that these stressors can have on their mental health functioning. We also need to take a closer look at physical injury and its potential impact on women’s psychological health.”
- Army Suicide Rates Decline For First Time In 4 years. USA Today “Army suicide rates declined for the first time in four years in 2011, the result of a complex effort to identify soldiers engaged in risky or self-destructive behavior, according to the outgoing vice chief of staff, Gen. Peter Chiarelli.” USA Today adds, “Suicides among active-duty soldiers and those in the National Guard and Reserve who are not on active duty fell by 9% last year from 305 deaths in 2010 to 278 in 2011.” However, the Army suicide rate, “about 24 per 100,000 last year, remains higher than a similar demographic among civilians, about 19 per 100,000.”
- VA Hosts Job Fair In Nation’s Capital. Fox News’ America’s Newsroom In Washington, DC, on Wednesday, Veterans Affairs hosted a job fair for unemployed vets. The event had private companies, “as well as Federal agencies.” When vets arrived at the fair, they were “matched up with a coach,” who then guided them to recruiters who could use their skills. AFP “Hundreds of ex-servicemen” attended Wednesday’s fair. AFP adds, “Coca-Cola, the FBI, JP Morgan Chase and the Philadelphia police were among the employers looking for new talent at the fair.” Also at the fair was VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, who said veterans were “‘asked them to fight, sacrifice and risk their lives for their country. They should not fight for a job when they come home,’ he said, citing President Barack Obama, whose administration has given incentives for hiring veterans.”
- State, Feds Boost Veterans’ Medical And Employment Programs. Hudson (WI) Star Observer “Recent announcements on the national and state level are aimed at boosting medical and employment help for military veterans. The Medical College of Wisconsin and UW School of Medicine and Public Health are part of First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces Initiative committed to creating a new generation of doctors, medical schools and research facilities that will make sure veterans and their families receive the care worthy of their sacrifice.” The Star Observer adds, “Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary John A. Scocos announced initiatives the state is underrating to connect veterans with jobs as a part of Governor Scott Walker’s plan in a Jan. 11 news release.”
- Hiring Vets Called A Priority. San Antonio Express-News “With the unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan vets hovering in the double digits and their ranks expected to climb with looming cuts to the military, finding jobs for returning service members has grabbed the spotlight.” On Thursday, US Sen. John Cornyn, (R-TX) met with a “gathering of business leaders…at the Boeing facility in Port San Antonio. Cornyn met with officials from Boeing, USAA and Lowe’s and other area business leaders to spotlight veterans hiring programs and the need to help returning service members make a smooth transition into the civilian workforce.”
- Md. Health Organization Seeking To Hire Veterans. AP “Maryland’s largest long-term care organization says its members want to hire returning veterans. Joseph DeMattos, president of the Health Facilities Association of Maryland, made the announcement Thursday in Annapolis.” with Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, “who is a colonel in the US Army Reserves, and state lawmakers who are veterans. DeMattos says several major nursing and rehabilitation providers in Maryland as well as smaller independent providers are pledging to hire as many qualified returning veterans as possible in open positions.”
- Veteran Unemployment: Disabled Veterans National Foundation Arms Vets With Job Benefits Information. Huffington Post “When Obama signed the ‘VOW To Hire Heroes Act’ in November, to be implemented by the VA, he promised tax credits for those who hire unemployed and disabled veterans. But, many of those veterans looking for work say that they feel left in the dark when it comes to learning about the benefits they are entitled to for their job search.” The Post adds, “To clarify exactly what is available to them, the Disabled Veterans National Foundation announced Wednesday that it will connect unemployed vets with the career resources that have come out of the VOW Act.”
- VA’s Peter Levin Pursues “Art Of The Possible” In IT Innovation. AOL Government Dr. Peter Levin, Veterans Affairs’ chief technology officer, who “says his aim is to ‘encourage the culture’ at VA to ‘recognize that it’s much better to have tried something silly and know not what to do than to stay in the rut you’re in.'” One of “Levin’s major projects at VA” is Blue Button, a “technology that provides veterans with quick and easy online access to their personal health records.” Levin said, “We’re going to make Blue Button better and better.” AOL Government adds, “Ultimately, Levin wants to make all veterans information available under a unified Web services platform.”
- Navy Veteran Receives First Bionic Hand. WJXT-TV Iraq veteran Sharod Edwards has a “bionic hand that’s the first of its kind” in the US It is “known as a Michaelangelo hand, and Edwards says it’s changed his life.” WJXT added, “The Michelangelo hand has five articulating digits and features multiple grip functions that allow Edwards to flex the muscles in his residual limb to master everyday activities.”
- Calcium Associated With Lower Risk Of Prostate Cancer. HealthDay “Dietary calcium intake is inversely associated with prostate cancer risk, according to a study published online Jan. 12 in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Preventing Chronic Disease.” Dr. Christina D. Williams, “Ph.D., M.P.H., of Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center in North Carolina, and colleagues investigated the association between calcium intake and prostate cancer risk.” HealthDay adds, “‘Our findings suggest that, among men with diets that have moderate to low calcium intake, adequate calcium intake may reduce the risk for prostate cancer, particularly among black men, and reduce the risk for high-grade prostate cancer among all men,’ the authors write.”
- Sex Safe For Heart Patients Not Having An Extramarital Affair. Bloomberg News “Most people being treated for heart disease can safely have sex, according to research that also suggests the risk of sudden cardiac death may rise for men when the amorous activity occurs during an extramarital affair. Having sex is linked with less than 1 percent of all heart attacks and less than 5 percent of incidences of chest pain, the American Heart Association reported” this week in the “Dallas-based heart organization’s journal, Circulation.” Dr. Glenn Levine, “who directs the Cardiac Care Unit at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center” in Houston, was the lead author of the published scientific statement.
- From War To Civilian Life, Local Troops Look For Help. WCMH-TV With many veterans returning from Iraq, “there will be an increased need for services through the Veterans Affairs offices in Central Ohio. They are ready to be there before, during and after deployment.” Teresa McCarty, program manager for the Department of Veteran Affairs in Columbus, said, “We work with units premobilization, before they leave, then 30-60-90 days when they return to explain services and help with the things they might face.”
- Home Away From Home For Relatives Of Palo Alto VA Patients To Expand. KCBS-AM “Fisher House Palo Alto will add a second building to accommodate the growing number of military families who need lodging while their loved ones undergo rehabilitation or surgery at the VA Polytrauma Center, officials announced Wednesday. There is usually a waiting list for one of the 20 rooms in the current building across the street from the VA Palo Alto Hospital Health Care System, said spokeswoman Cindy Campbell.” KCBS added, “Like its counterparts elsewhere, the new Palo Alto building will feature architecture that promotes healing and a sense of well-being, Campbell said.”
- Enemy Fire Incidents Prompt Debate Over Need To Arm Medavac Helicopters. CBS Evening News On a debate that is forming over whether or not medevac helicopters should be armed, as a recent case shows that enemy fire delayed transport and treatment of a soldier in Afghanistan. CBS showed footage of the medevac operation coming under fire, and an interview with the widow of the solider who died after enemy fire caused for a process of 59 minutes for the flight to land and load him onto the helicopter, a delay for which she says there is “no excuse.” CBS said that “in a six-month period last year medevacs came under fire 57 times,” but the military finds “machine guns would add weight and reduce the number of patients a medevac could carry, and would not bring nearly as much fire power as an Apache escort.”
- Plan To Save VA In Hot Springs To Be Developed. Rapid City Journal The “most significant issue facing folks in the Black Hills, especially in the southern half of District 30, is the change being proposed” by Veterans Affairs. Rampelberg added, “It’s great to see the community spirit and willingness of so many people to get involved in supporting our Southern Hills VA. Because of my experience as chairman of the Ellsworth Task Force in 2005, I have been asked to serve on the Core Group of Save the VA effort.”