Apply for the 2018 Focus Forward Fellowship!
The Focus Forward Fellowship from the Military Family Research Institute offers women student veterans the opportunity to network with other woman Veterans and corporate mentors, grow academically and professionally and understand and develop their unique strengths as woman Veterans. The Fellowship covers a four-day residency at Purdue University in July 2018, followed by a year of engagement in an online learning community.
Did You Know: No-Cost Medical ID and Bracelets are Available to Qualifying Veterans
Thanks to a Veterans Health Administration directive, Veterans with chronic medical conditions are eligible for a medical ID bracelet or dog tag. Importantly – the personalized ID is customized for each patient.
VA Secretary: Expand Comprehensive Caregiver Benefits to Severely Injured Veterans of Past Wars – But Restrict eligibility
Congress created the VA caregiver program in 2010 for veterans who sustained serious injuries after 9/11. As a result, the approximately 26,000 caregivers who are enrolled in the program receive monthly stipends, as well as other benefits, such as medical training, counseling and respite care.
There has been pressure on Congress to extend the program to all veterans going back to WWII. Legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate but there have always been differences because of the desire of congressional leaders to expand the program but not expand the cost.
In his recent testimony before Congress VA Secretary David Shulkin explained another option to lawmakers.
Post-9/11 veterans now qualify for the comprehensive benefits if their physical or mental injuries prevent them from performing one or more activities of daily living, such as bathing, preparing meals or dressing themselves.
Shulkin has proposed limiting eligibility for the caregivers program to the most severely injured and ill veterans which he says would accomplish the goals of expanding the program to veterans of all eras without inflating costs. The 26,000 caregivers already enrolled into the program should still receive the benefit with the old rules, Shulkin said, but the new rules would apply to all new enrollees.
House VA Committee Chairman Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) plans to hold a roundtable on March 6 to discuss the plan and then hold hearings in an effort to move legislation forward.
If you have an opinion on this we urge you to contact your own Senators and Representative and let them know.
Organizations Ask for Brain Donations From Veteran Women to Study Concussions – PINK Concussions and the VA’s National Center for PTSD say that brain donations can help close knowledge gaps on TBIs in women in and outside of the military. By Mia Garchitorena
After receiving a serious brain injury from a skydiving training accident in 2006, Harmony Allen, 38, suffered from memory loss, right-sided blindness, imbalance issues, and post-traumatic stress disorder. She was officially diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2010. Allen was medically discharged from the Air Force in 2011 and continues to suffer from TBI symptoms today. Because of this, she’s determined to help advance TBI research on women by using her brain, literally.
Allen was the first female veteran who pledged to donate her brain for research in traumatic brain injury as part of the #PINKBrainPledge, a recently announced collaboration between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Center for PTSD and PINK Concussions, the first nonprofit organization dedicated to improving education and medical care for women with brain injury. “It’s an honor for me to serve my country even if I can’t be in active duty anymore,” Allen says. “It’s a way to help women who have been turned away like I was.”
Since the announcement of the collaboration on January 24, 2018, 175 women have pledged to donate their brains to the VA’s National PTSD Brain Bank.
“It’s incredibly empowering for the veteran herself to join with other veterans and civilian women to be a part of this movement and change the percentages of how many females are involved in the research,” says Katherine Snedaker, a licensed clinical social worker and founder and executive director of PINK Concussions.
Why There Are So Few Brain Donations From Women
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBIs are caused by “a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain.” In 2013, there were approximately 2.8 million TBI-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States.
Most of what people know about TBIs and their side effects comes from studies of male veterans, football players, ice hockey players, and other athletes from predominantly male sports. But less is known about how TBIs affect women, even though they report more symptoms than men and may take longer to recover than their male counterparts, according to a researchers at UCLA Health Sciences.
“There’s not a lot of research on how sex affects brain injury,” says Chris Nowinski, PhD, cofounder and CEO of the nonprofit organization Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) and the Boston University Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center in Massachusetts.
Why It’s Important for Women to Donate Their Brains
The world’s largest tissue repository, the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank has a research team made up of the VA Boston Healthcare System, the BU CTE Center, and the CLF, and houses 500 brains, including over 270 with the degenerative brain disease CTE. Out of the 500 brains donated to the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank in the last decade, only eight have been from females.
“Brain donation is the fastest way that we’ll understand how these impacts affect female brains,” Dr. Nowinski says. “It also provides the evidence we need to make the appropriate changes to sports so the next generation is protected.”
In order to encourage more women to donate their brains for research, Nowinsky says that the CLF is recruiting female athletes to pledge their brains publicly.
On February 6, 2018, three female Olympians publicly pledged to donate their brains to the CLF.
The Women Veterans Report published by the VA in February 2017 notes that there are about two million women in the military. There are few published studies on TBI in military women, but in one article published in September 2012 in the Journal of Women’s Health, the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center found that out of almost 82,000 male and female veterans, 12 percent of the cases were women with a TBI diagnosis. Harmony Allen says that donating one’s brain can be a way to help researchers learn more about the prevalence of TBI in female veterans.
“I would ask them to please donate their brains because it’s a way to help people who fought for them,” she says. “Their brain isn’t going to just sit on a shelf. It’s truly going to help treat veterans.”
To make a brain pledge, go to Pink Concussions’ Take the Pledge page.
Want to work with your hands? Check Out this $50 Million Home Depot Foundation Training Program.
The nation’s largest hardware retailer wants to bring back the bygone era of shop class, with a $50 million commitment to train thousands of skilled laborers over the next decade, representatives for The Home Depot Foundation announced Wednesday. The bulk of the funds will go toward programs for approximately 15,000 transitioning service members and veterans, with classes on military installations in carpentry, plumbing and related fields.
VA’s CWV to Highlight, Connect & Inform Women Veterans Through Outreach & Social Media
The women Veteran population is growing and VA is stepping up to meet the need through innovative programming and services specifically designed to serve women. But, once the programs are deployed, how do we get the word out?
Four ways Social Security serves our veterans
The Social Security Administration, honors the men and women who proudly serve our country. Social Security is committed to helping our veterans. One of our priorities is to constantly improve the quality of service we provide to them and their families. Here are five Social Security benefits every veteran should know about:
1. Disability Services —The effects of military service can be profound and lasting. Social Security pays disability benefits to veterans through the Social Security disability insurance and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. Our disability insurance program pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you’ve worked long enough and paid enough Social Security taxes to qualify.
2. Accelerated processing for some veteran claims —veterans who have a VA compensation rating of 100 percent permanent and total (P&T) have the opportunity to receive expedited processing of applications for Social Security disability benefits.
3. Help integrating back into the workforce — Our online guide, Journey to Success: Employment Tools for Veterans with Disabilities, highlights resources, such as career counseling, job training, employment services, and other ways that we help disabled veterans return to work.
4. Career opportunities for veterans — We offer several career options in diverse fields for our heroes as well as preference in hiring. Benefits for WWII veterans — Special benefits can be paid to some World War II veterans who served in the active United States military from Sept. 16, 1940, through July 24, 1947. This includes Filipino veterans who served in the organized military of the Philippines from July 26, 1941, through Dec. 30, 1946.