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1. VA Chief of Staff John Gingrich to retire. FederalNewsRadio.com: After 37 years of federal and military service, John Gingrich, chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs, will retire by the end of the month,
2. Medal of Honor recipients pay tribute to everyday heroes. Marcos Ugarte wasn’t even thinking; he just knew he had to do it. He propped up a ladder against a burning home, climbed it and pulled to safety a 7-year-old boy who had been trapped in a second-floor room.
3. Army chaplain’s Passover seder a draw across Europe. Break out the Haggadah and crack the matza — Passover has arrived at this small Army garrison, where U.S. Army Europe’s only Jewish chaplain is holding services for the second straight year.
4. Veterans backlog: ‘We have a fix’. Lawmakers and veterans groups this month launched a new focus on an old problem: the veterans claims backlog – disability and compensation ﬁles pending for more than 125 days.
5. Palo Alto VA builds premier facility to treat veterans. The last steel beam lifted high into the air by a crane is lowered into place, where workers bolt it down to the applause of onlookers. It is a small, but symbolic, piece of the extreme makeover occurring on the VA Palo Alto Heath Care System’s main campus.
6. Report: Pentagon must do more to prevent sex assaults. A new report required by Congress recommends that the Defense Department assess how well commanding officers handle sexual assault and harassment complaints when reviewing their job performance.
7. United Kingdom Eyes VA’s Electronic Health Record. NextGov: The Veterans Affairs Department and the United Kingdom’s National Health Service have teamed up to share ideas, strategies and leadership for development of health information technology, opening the possibility that the NHS could use VA’s electronic health record system.
8. Helping Veterans. The New York Times: As national commander of the American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans’ service organization, I am proud to admit that we are “fighting to remain relevant.” Indeed, we are fighting to make a positive difference in the lives of our nation’s active-duty troops, Reserve and Guard forces, and 23 million veterans and their families.
9. Oklahoma House panel adds annual veteran center inspections to Senate bill. Oklahomann: A legislative committee unanimously approved changing a bill Monday that now would require the state Health Department to make at least one unannounced annual inspection as well as monthly visits to each of Oklahoma’s seven veterans centers.
10. Campaign seeks to prevent suicides among veterans (AUDIO). Nebraska Radio Network: The “Not One More Life” campaign focuses on the risk of emotional issues that could lead to suicide. The campaign will include bumper stickers and radio public service announcements promoting the crisis line, 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Have You Heard?
The Rehabilitation Research and Development Service Scientific Merit Review Board will meet on April 9, 2013, in Room 23 at 131 M Street NE, Washington, DC, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to evaluate Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence and Research Enhancement Award Program applications. The purpose of the Board is to review rehabilitation research and development applications and advise the Director, Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, and the Chief Research and Development Officer on the scientific and technical merit, the mission relevance, and the protection of human and animal subjects.
The Advisory Committee on Women Veterans will meet on April 9-11, 2013, in the G. V. “Sonny” Montgomery Conference Center, room 230, at VA Central Office, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, from 8:30 until 4:30 p.m. each day. The purpose of the Committee is to advise the Secretary of Veterans Affairs regarding the needs of women Veterans with respect to health care, rehabilitation, compensation, outreach, and other programs and activities administered by VA designed to meet such needs. The Committee makes recommendations to the Secretary regarding such programs and activities. The agenda will include updates from the Veterans Health Administration, the Veterans Benefits Administration, and the National Cemetery Administration and staff offices, as well as updates on recommendations from the 2012 Report of the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans.
The Geriatrics and Gerontology Advisory Committee will meet on April 11-12, 2013, in Room 830 on April 11 and in Room 630 on April 12 at the Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. On April 11, the session will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. On April 12, the session will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 12 noon. The purpose of the Committee is to provide advice to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Under Secretary for Health on all matters pertaining to geriatrics and gerontology. The Committee assesses the capability of VA health care facilities and programs to meet the medical, psychological, and social needs of older Veterans and evaluates VA programs designated as Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Centers. The meeting will feature presentations and discussions on VA’s geriatrics and extended care programs, aging research activities, updates on VA’s employee staff working in the area of geriatrics (to include training, recruitment and retention approaches), Veterans Health Administration (VHA) strategic planning activities in geriatrics and extended care, recent VHA efforts regarding dementia and program advances in palliative care, and performance and oversight of VA Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Centers.
The Genomic Medicine Program Advisory Committee will meet on April 11, 2013, in Suite 1000 at the United States Access Board Conference Room, 1331 F Street, NW, Washington, DC. The meeting will convene at 9 a.m. and adjourn at 5 p.m. The purpose of the Committee is to provide advice and make recommendations to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on using genetic information to optimize medical care of Veterans, and to enhance development of tests and treatments for diseases particularly relevant to Veterans. The Committee will receive program updates and will continue to provide insight into optimal ways for VA to incorporate genomic information into its health care program while applying appropriate ethical oversight and protecting the privacy of Veterans. The meeting focus will be on expanding VA’s infrastructure for storing and analyzing genomic data and updates on the status of the ongoing Million Veteran Program, as well as the clinical Genomic Medicine Service. The emerging implications of combining information from genetic data with data from publically available genealogy databases will also be discussed. The meeting will also receive an update on the status of the ongoing Million Veteran Program and the clinical Genomics Service.