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Bios

Thomas J. Berger, Ph.D.
Dr. Tom Berger is a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and founding member of VVA Chapter 317 in Kansas City, Missouri. Dr. Berger served as a Navy Corpsman with the 3rd Marine Corps Division in Vietnam, 1966-68. Following his military service and upon the subsequent completion of his postdoctoral studies, he held faculty, research and administrative appointments at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, the State University System of Florida in Tallahassee, and the University of Missouri-Columbia, as well as program administrator positions with the Illinois Easter Seal Society and United Cerebral Palsy.

After serving as chair of VVA's national PTSD and Substance Abuse Committee for almost a decade, he joined the staff of the VVA national office as "Senior Policy Analyst for Veterans' Benefits & Mental Health Issues" in 2008. Then in June 2009, he was appointed as "Executive Director of the VVA Veterans Health Council", a 501c3, whose primary mission is to improve the healthcare of America's veterans through education and information.

Dr. Berger has been involved in veterans' advocacy for over twenty-five years, and he is a member of VVA's national Health Care, Government Affairs, Agent Orange and Toxic Substances, and Women Veterans committees. As such, he is a member and the former Chair of the Veterans Administration's (VA) Consumer Liaison Council for the Committee on Care of Veterans with Serious Mental Illness (SMI Committee) in Washington, D.C.; he is also a member of the VA's Mental Health Quality Enhancement Research Initiative Depression Executive Committee (MHQUERI) based in Little Rock, Arkansas and the South Central Mental Illness Research and Education Clinical Center (SC MIRECC) based in Houston, Texas. Dr. Berger holds the distinction of being the first representative of a national veterans' service organization to hold membership on the VA's Executive Committee of the Substance Use Disorder Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (SUD QUERI) and serves as a national committee member on the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) veterans' working group and member of the National Leadership Forum on Behavioral Health-Criminal Justice Services with the CMHS-funded national GAINS Center. He has also served as a reviewer of research proposals for the Department of Defense (DoD) "Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs" and is a current member of the Education Advisory Committee for the National Center on PTSD.

Dr. Berger has addressed veterans' health care issues on local Washington and national media outlets including CNN, before FDA committees and Justice Department commissions, and on many occasions, has presented on-the-record testimony before both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees, Subcommittees and Roundtables regarding mental health, substance abuse and related health issues affecting America's veterans.

Dr. Berger's varied academic interests have included published research, books and articles in the biological sciences, wildlife regulatory law, adolescent risk behaviors, domestic violence, substance abuse, suicide, and post-traumatic stress disorder. He currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Melissa S. Ader
Melissa S. Ader is a law student intern in the Veterans Legal Services Clinic of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School. Ms. Ader has held internships at the American Civil Liberties Union Women's Rights Project and Legal Services NYC.

Tasha N. Brown
Tasha N. Brown is a law student intern in the Veterans Legal Services Clinic of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School. Prior to law school school, Mrs. Brown served on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in 2004.

 

 

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