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In This Issue May 17, 2012

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

MST Screening at the VA

PTSD Treatment News

Video: Advocates of Agent Orange-affected veterans and their families

Message From the VA

Soaps For Hope

Veterans Are Not Dollar Signs

Stratford University ACICS Drive

POW/MIA Update

Press Release: Veterans Health Council

FacebookFAO - Facebook

Special Notice:
If you are a veteran in emotional crisis and need help RIGHT NOW,
call this toll-free number
, available 24/7, and tell them you are a veteran. All calls are confidential.

VA Caregiver Hotline

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

Make the Connection

Make the Connection, Hear the Stories of Veterans

Make the Connection is a portal to the stories of Veterans who have overcome the challenges that can occur after the military. Hear stories like yours, or browse the resource page to help start down your own path toward recovery.

Military Sexual Trauma Screening

MST Screening at the VA

Rates of screening for Military Sexual Trauma in the VA have increased since the universal mandate in 2000, but facilities vary in the percentage of veterans who are screened. A study led by VA’s Military Sexual Assault Support Team and the National Center for PTSD indicates that some factors have a particular impact on the likelihood of screening. The investigators examined clinical data for female (n = 50,763) and male (n = 1,004,758) veterans who used outpatient services in fiscal year 2005 at 119 VHA facilities. None of the veterans had previously received an MST screen. Just over half of the women (51%) and under half of the men (44%) were new patients, defined as not having an outpatient visit at a VHA facility in the previous fiscal year. The overall MST screening rate was 72% among women and 68% among men. Although facility size did not affect screening, other organizational factors did. Their influence varied by gender and new versus continuing patient status. For example, audits and feedback of MST screening nearly doubled the odds of screening among new patients only. A mandatory universal MST screening policy was associated with greater odds of being screened in all male patients but in only new female patients. Based on these findings, facilities may want to implement multiple strategies in order to ensure that all veterans—male and female—are adequately screened.

Read the article: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/articles/article-pdf/id38468.pdf

PTSD Treatment News

PTSD Treatment News: Prolonged Exposure Benefit May Differ Among Veteran Cohorts

There is significant evidence for exposure therapy as an effective treatment for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) across a variety of populations, including veterans; however, there is little empirical information regarding how veterans of different war theaters respond to exposure therapy. Accordingly, questions remain regarding therapy effectiveness for treatment of PTSD for veterans of different eras. Such questions have important implications for the dissemination of evidence-based treatments, treatment development, and policy. But a new study from researchers at the Charleston VA shows how effective Prolonged Exposure can be in routine clinical practice. The study compared treatment outcomes across 112 veterans of the Vietnam War, the first Persian Gulf War, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. All subjects were diagnosed with PTSD and enrolled in Prolonged Exposure treatment. Veterans from all three groups showed significant improvement in PTSD symptoms, with veterans from Vietnam and Afghanistan/Iraq responding similarly to treatment. Persian Gulf veterans did not respond to treatment at the same rate or to the same degree as veterans from the other two eras.

Video: Advocates for Agent Orange-affected veterans and their families

Wilson and Allen on Agent Orange

Sandie Wilson and Elizabeth Allen were combat nurses during the Vietnam War. Today, they are advocates for Agent Orange-affected veterans and their families, raising awareness and seeking answers about the medical problems people have suffered as a result of dioxin exposure during
the war.

Message From the VA

Leave Your Firearms at Home

In the continuing effort of ensuring a safe and secure environment, while still providing open and accessible service, the Department of Veterans Affairs would like to remind you that possession of firearms is illegal, under Federal law, at all VA facilities and properties. This applies even to those individuals who have a State-issued permit to carry a concealed firearm. Persons found in possession of a firearm on Federal property are subject to arrest, citation, and confiscation of their firearms. So, please ensure that you leave your firearm at home, and properly stored, when you visit any of our VA facilities or properties.

We thank all of you for your service to our Nation. We hope you will join us in keeping our VA safe and secure.

VVA a 'Soaps for Hope' Partner  

Ton Savon ‘SOAPS FOR HOPE’ Facebook Promo Benefits VVA

Ton Savon Logo

LOS ANGELES (May 14, 2012) – Helping AmeriCares, Vietnam Veterans of America, and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles get much needed supplies is as free and simple as clicking over to http://www.Soaps-for-Hope.com. This is where Facebook fans of Ton Savon, a leading manufacturer of bath and beauty products from the South of France, can have the company donate a bar of soap to each of these organizations on their behalf.

“Ton Savon is excited to have this opportunity to support three organizations dedicated to making a difference in our world,” notes Dana DeVorzon, CEO of Ton Savon. “We are empowering Ton Savon’s fans to also help make an impact and affect the lives of others with a single click while building awareness for our Soaps for Hope partners.”

[Ton Savon Donates to VVA]

USA Today Editorial

USA Today: Veterans Are Not "Dollar Signs in Uniform"

Many reputable private and public universities, trade schools, and training programs are committed to helping veterans further their education and careers. But there are also predators itching to pad their enrollments with veterans and get their hands on government billions—nearly 600,000 people are expected to enter classes under the G.I. Bill this year, with the Veterans Affairs Department footing more than $9 billion of the cost. But service members and veterans looking to learn more about their educational benefits under the G.I. Bill may be in trouble if they plunge unprepared into the wilds of the Internet. According to a recent USA Today editorial, some of those GIs are seeing their opportunity squandered by for-profit colleges with low graduation rates, high costs and high loan default rates. In fact, their new benefits might be propping up some schools that otherwise would struggle to meet federal rules.

[Read the editorial]

News From VVA's Household Goods Program

Stratford University students organize clothing drive to support veterans

FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA – (May 11, 2012) – Stratford University students are embarking on a large-scale community service project to support veterans in our local communities. Each campus will be collecting clothing donations May 21 through May 25, 2012.

Students, faculty, and staff are spring-cleaning their apartments, homes, and work spaces to donate much needed clothing to veterans and their family members. Our goal is to collect 50 bags of clothing to help support www.clothingdonations.org, which is a service of Vietnam Veterans of America.

Each Stratford campus has a designated “donation day” in which the public can bring their donations to our campus (during normal business hours), learn about the Vietnam Veterans of America organization, and receive a treat for their efforts from Stratford’s culinary department.

  • Tuesday, May 22, 2012
    Stratford University- Woodbridge Campus at Potomac Mills
    14349 Gideon Drive • Woodbridge, VA 22192 • 703-897-1982
  • Wednesday, May 23, 2012
    Stratford University- Richmond Campus at Glen Allen
    11104 W. Broad Street • Glen Allen, VA 23060 • 804-290-4231
  • Thursday, May 24, 2012
    Stratford University- Baltimore Campus at Inner Harbor
    17 Commerce Street • Baltimore, MD 21202 • 410-752-4710
  • Friday, May 25, 2012
    Stratford University- Falls Church Campus at Tysons Corner
    7777 Leesburg Pike • Falls Church, VA 22043 • 703-821-8570

Stratford is recognized as a military-friendly school and is a member of the Services Members Opportunities College (SOC) program and participates in the Yellow Ribbon program. Stratford also has a number of programs designed to help U.S. military and former-U.S. military personnel complete their education.

“Each Stratford campus is always looking for ways to get involved with its local community. This large-scale, all-campus project was developed to support our accrediting body’s “Centennial Celebration.” The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools’ (ACICS) “WeSERVE” (Students Empowered to Respond and Volunteer Everywhere) community service initiative is a way for all of our campuses to work together towards a common goal and demonstrate our commitment to community service,” stated Sarah Giannakopoulos, Stratford University’s compliance officer and event organizer.

About Stratford University:
Stratford University operates campuses in Falls Church, Woodbridge, Richmond, and Newport News, Va.; and Baltimore, Md. The university offers 31 undergraduate and graduate degrees in the areas of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, Health Sciences, Nursing, Business Administration, and Information Technology. Many of the degree programs are offered both on campus, as well as online. For more information on Stratford University, please visit http://www.stratford.edu

POW / MIA Update: May 14, 2012



AMERICANS ACCOUNTED-FOR: There are still 1,666 Americans listed by the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) as missing and unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War. The most recent identifications are a USAF group of personnel listed as MIA in Laos on 12/24/65. Personnel included Colonels Joseph Christiano, NY, Dennis L. Eilers, IA, Derrell B. Jeffords, AZ and Chief Master Sergeants William K. Coldwell, NY, and Larry C. Thornton, ID. Their remains were recovered on 2/18/2010 and identified on 3/5/2012. Also announced as accounted-for was Captain Vergil K. Meroney III, USAFR, AR, MIA in Laos on 3/1/1969. His remains were recovered on 11/16/2010 and identified on 3/5/2012. The number of Americans announced as returned and identified since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 is now 917. Another 63 US personnel, recovered post-incident and identified before the end of the war, bring the officially listed total recovered and identified to 980. Of the 1,666 still missing and unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War, 90% were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam’s wartime control: Vietnam–1,284 (VN-471, VS-813); Laos–318; Cambodia–57; Peoples Republic of China territorial waters–7; more than 450 were over-water losses.

[Read the full report]


Press Release

VVA’s Veterans Health Council Calls on Senate to Set Aside Drug Importation Amendment and Ensure Immediate Approval of PDUFA

Washington, D.C.– Dr. Tom Berger, Executive Director of Vietnam Veterans of America’s Veterans Health Council, released the following statement today, urging the Senate to prioritize passage of a strong Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) over drug importation:

“We are deeply disappointed in the introduction of an amendment that would allow for the importation of prescription medicines from overseas producers for whom the FDA has no jurisdiction. Framed as a cost-cutting measure, this could serve as a serious threat to our national security. It needlessly exposes millions of American patients, many of whom are veterans and family members of veterans, to medicines the U.S. simply cannot guarantee to be safe or effective. The introduction of this amendment into the vital reauthorization of PDUFA could only serve to slow down or stifle the passage of this important legislation.

[Read more]

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