1611 Virginia Ave., Ste 212, Box 406, North Bend , Oregon 97459 Hours: M-F 9am-4pm sovo4vets@gmail.com 541-756-8718 (Office) 541-756-8758 (Fax)

First 2018 meeting of the Oregon Veterans’ Advisory Committee will be held in Corvallis

The first 2018 meeting of the Advisory Committee to the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon March 7 at 4 Spirits Distillery, 3405 S.W. Deschutes St. in Corvallis. The public is invited to attend and participate.
The committee is made up of veterans appointed by the governor to provide counsel on veteran issues and represent veteran concerns across Oregon. Its nine members serve in a vital advisory role to the director and staff of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
The advisory committee’s meetings are held throughout the state on the first Wednesday in March, June, September and December. Registration is encouraged, but not required. If you plan on attending, please RSVP here.
More information can be found on ODVA’s website. To contact the Advisory Committee, please email vaac@odva.state.or.us.

Oregon veteran who secured first military headstone for same-sex spouse dies at 71

It’s been five years since retired Air Force Lt. Col. Linda Campbell buried the ashes of her wife, Nancy Lynchild, at Willamette National Cemetery just southeast of Portland.
It was just after the military dropped the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy” that prohibited its gay, lesbian and bisexual members from serving openly but before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage is a Constitutional right.

And it was the first time a U.S. veteran had secured a burial plot for her same-sex spouse at a military cemetery.
Soon, Linda will join Lynchild in the plot she lobbied the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to grant her partner of 22 years. The Air Force veteran has died at 71, according to a Campbell family release.  Read more at OregonLive

 

VA Partners with Cohen Veterans Network to Increase Access to Mental Health Resources

WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Cohen Veterans Network, Inc., (CVN) announced a new partnership to increase Veterans’ access to mental health resources to reduce Veteran suicides.
The partnership will allow VA and CVN to work together to advance and improve Veterans’ mental health and well-being and expand and promote community collaboration to increase Veterans’ access to mental health resources.
“VA and CVN have a shared goal to improve Veterans’ health and access to mental health services to reduce Veteran suicide,” said VA Secretary David J. Shulkin. “With 14 out of the 20 Veterans who take their own lives per day not engaging VA care, partnerships such as this help those Veterans, as well as their families, receive care where they live.”
As part of the collaboration, VA and CVN will:
Work together on potential mental health education initiatives, consumer marketing and public health messaging
Discuss potential locations for Cohen Clinics in regions believed to have underserved Veterans in need of mental health care services
Collaborate to share publicly available, VA-developed educational resources for health care providers, such as military culture training and suicide prevention training with CVN staff and clinic employees.
“This partnership will help us save lives by getting care to Veterans faster and, therefore, preventing suicides,” said Dr. Anthony Hassan, president and CEO of CVN. “We are excited about partnering with VA and advancing the field through innovative clinician training initiatives and public messaging. This partnership adds another layer of depth and quality to our robust network of Cohen Military Family Clinics.”
For more information about VA mental health services, visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov. Information about the Cohen Veterans Network may be found at: https://www.cohenveteransnetwork.org.
Veterans in crisis or having thoughts of suicide — and those who know a Veteran in crisis — should call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or text to 838255.

Calling all Oregon women veterans!

Join us in Sunriver April 26-28, 2018

A message from ODVA

This year we celebrate not just your 10th Conference, but the immense strength of generations of phenomenal women who chose to serve in the military. You are women who have been the first, the groundbreakers, and the change makers. You are a small segment of the American population who did what other women did not or could not do by saying “I can do that,” often meeting with and rising above adversity and challenges other women will never know or experience.
For many, those challenges and that adversity continued even after you left the military and still, you rise. For 20 years it has been the distinct pleasure of Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs to offer this event as a safe space where women veterans can learn, gather, make new friends, and reconnect with old friends, and our goal is to make this the best year yet.
This year, as we considered the conference, we knew that we owed more to the women veterans of Oregon – that we too had to rise in order to do better for all women veterans. We wanted to honor the fact that there are women veterans throughout the state, so we chose Central Oregon to make it easier for so many of you to attend.
We wanted to honor and recognize that the population of women veterans is diverse and include women who are LGBTQ, women of color, tribal women, immigrant women, women with disabilities, young women, and elderly women, so you’ll see our workshops, panels, and speakers reflect that diversity. We choose to honor that women veterans are strong even in the broken places, and that is what makes us different from virtually every other woman out there.
With your 2018 Oregon Women Veterans Conference, we seek to thank you for being you, tell you we see you, and celebrate that fact that both individually and as one, we rise.

VA Announces Leadership Changes at Roseburg (Oregon) Medical Center

WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that the Director of the Roseburg VA Health Care System, Doug Paxton, has stepped down and an interim replacement has been named. This is a step aimed at improving care for Veterans served by Roseburg, which remains one of VA’s 15 lowest performing facilities.

Mr. Paxton has accepted reassignment as Assistant Director at the Huntington VAMC in West Virginia.

Mr. Paxton is being replaced by Mr. David L. Whitmer who will serve as the as interim Director at Roseburg. A proven leader with twenty years of federal service in clinical and administrative settings within VA and the Department of Health and Human Services, Whitmer currently serves as Chief Operating Officer of the Sunshine Health Network, St. Petersburg, Florida.

Both appointments are effective February 4, 2018.

“This action was necessary as a step to improve care for Veterans at Roseburg. There are times that facility leadership needs to change in order to usher in a new approach that will demonstrate we are committed to delivering results for Veterans and taxpayers,” said Dr. Carolyn Clancy, Executive in Charge, Veterans Health Administration.

“Mr. Whitmer is an experienced leader who brings to Roseburg a background of developing operational strategies, planning enterprise-wide business requirements, evaluating program effectiveness, and improving business operations into actions that transform the delivery of healthcare services to veterans. We are looking forward to his leadership as we recruit a permanent director for Roseburg,” Clancy said.

Specific areas targeted for rapid improvement at Roseburg include:

a. Access to care

b. Performance measures

c. Patient experience

d. Employee satisfaction

e. Mortality

Whitmer Background

Whitmer began his VA career in 2014. During that time he has served two long-term assignments as acting Chief Operating Officer at two large, complex Florida hospitals (Tampa and West Palm Beach). In this role he was responsible for overseeing all hospital operations, including environment of care and quality management oversight for two Joint Commission and Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) reviews.

Prior to joining VA, Whitmer served at the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Health (NIH), in various leadership and supervisory roles from 1999 to 2014.

Mr. Whitmer received a Masters of Political Science, Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts, Secondary Social Science Education from the University of South Florida. He is a graduate of the NIH Senior Leadership Program, University of Maryland University College, OPM’s Executive Development Program, and a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

VA’s National PTSD Brain Bank collaborates with PINK Concussions Group

Women Veterans urged   to donate brains for research

Today, VA announced a collaboration between its National Center for PTSD and the nonprofit organization PINK Concussions, encouraging women to donate their brains for the purpose of research of the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“In the past, the focus of TBI and PTSD brain research has primarily been based on male brains — without any active recruitment for women,” said Dr. Carolyn Clancy, executive in charge of VA’s Veterans Health Administration. “We have a lot to learn about how the female brain deals with TBI and PTSD, which makes this effort long overdue.”
Katherine Snedaker, founder and executive director of PINK Concussions and a brain injury survivor, also applauded the collaboration.
“We are so grateful to partner with VA to launch the first active recruitment of female Veterans, as well as active-duty members and civilian women to be a part of brain injury and PTSD research,” Snedaker said. “VA continues year after year to be one of our most valued partners in our ongoing mission to improve pre-injury education and post-injury care for women with brain injury.”
While there is postmortem brain tissue available for study of injury in men, there has been almost none for women. There is also a lack of research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE, in women. In all published literature on CTE, only two peer-reviewed journal articles (both published in the early 1990s) have focused on women.
Women Veterans interested in participating in the brain bank may take the PINK Concussions pledge. Though tissue donation may occur many years or decades from now, enrollment will allow researchers to learn as much as possible about the health of an enrolled female participant and how things may change over the years.
For more information about the effort, visit www.pinkconcussions.com/. For more information about the VA’s National PTSD Brain Bank, visit this website or call 800-762-6609.

American Legion’s first female national commander Denise Rohan visits Salem

The governor of Oregon. The governor’s veterans’ policy advisor. The chiefs of staff for the Oregon Air and Army National Guard. And the acting director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

All women.

All front and center to meet the national commander of the American Legion, who also is a woman.

At the risk of offending someone, the girl power was palpable Jan. 12 in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at the State Capitol.

Gov. Kate Brown, veterans’ policy adviser Nakeia Daniels, Air National Guard Col. Jenifer Pardy, Army National Guard Col. Leah Sundquist and acting ODVA director Sheronne Blasi were among the dignitaries on hand to officially welcome Denise Rohan to Oregon.

Rohan is the first female national commander in the 99-year history of the American Legion, which is the nation’s largest veterans’ organization with 2 million members.  Read more  at the Statesman Journal.

VA Seeks Public Comment on Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is seeking public comments on how it can further strengthen and improve caregiver support through the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC).
Through a Federal Register notice, VA announced a 30-day comment period to hear from stakeholders on whether and how PCAFC should be refined to support Veterans and their family caregivers.
“With this opportunity, VA is following through on our promise to provide better service and improve consistency for the program,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “We’ve heard participants’ concerns and encourage them to share their personal experiences and perspectives to help us make changes.”
VA will use feedback, requested through responses to questions, to guide any future regulatory modifications to support family caregivers of Veterans most in need, while also improving the program under the current law.
Through PCAFC, VA provides support for certain family caregivers of eligible Veterans seriously injured in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, including a monthly stipend, access to health-care for eligible caregivers, counseling, training and respite care.
For information about how to submit comments, visit the Federal Register notice.
More information about the VA Caregiver Support Program is available at www.caregiver.va.gov.