VA Doctors Honored With Presidential Award

Four VA doctors were among 102 government employees who received the 2013 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The four from VA were cited for their separate research projects to improve the care of the nation’s Veterans. Many of the PECASE award winners were welcomed to Washington by President Obama.

Dr. Karunesh Ganguly, clinical neurologist at the San Francisco VAMC; Dr. Brian Head, a research health scientist for the VA San Diego Healthcare System; and Dr. Katherine Iverson, a clinical research psychologist for the VA Boston Healthcare System sat down with VA News to talk about their work that earned the awards.

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Helping Employers Connect to Job Seeking Service Members, Veterans and Their Families

(The above video is a brief introduction to the new Employment Center. if you’re not able to see the video clearly, make sure you click “HD” in the settings. You can also view it on YouTube here.)

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden joined the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell on Wednesday at a comprehensive Veterans Jobs Summit and Career Forum.

The First Lady and Dr. Biden’s message was clear: our commitment to our service members and their families does not end when their service does, which is why they launched Joining Forces three years ago this month.

Since then, companies who have made commitments to Joining Forces have hired over half a million (540,000) veterans and military spouses. Commitments from America’s biggest firms like UPS, who announced a doubling of their commitment to 50,000 new hires and Xerox who will has committed to hire 10,000 veterans and spouses over the next five years. Read More »

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Importance of Name, Legacy, Not Lost on Musician


Did you know musician and actor Lenny Kravitz was named after his uncle, Pfc. Leonard M. Kravitz? Pfc. Kravitz was recently recognized and awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Yangpyong, Korea, March 6-7, 1951.

While occupying defensive positions, PFC Kravitz’s unit was overrun by enemy combatants and forced to withdraw. He voluntarily remained at a machine-gun position to provide suppressive fire for the retreating troops.

Leonard never got to meet his famous nephew, but the importance of carrying his uncle’s name and legacy is not lost on Lenny. Learn more about PFC Kravitz in this video produced by SGT David Rankin for the U.S. Army.

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VA News #574

April 21 & 28, 2014

Hosts: Katrice Pasteur & Nick Antonetti
Excutive Producer: Ken McKinnon
Run Time: 15:07

VA News is a weekly program designed to provide timely news and information about the Department of Veterans Affairs. The newscast is co-sponsored by the VHA Employee Education System and the Office of Public Affairs in partnership with other headquarters and field offices.
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Grant Information Easy To Find On New Webpage

grantsVeterans and organizations serving Veterans can now find information on VA grant programs all in one place, on our new VA grants webpage.

This new, more user-friendly page provides information on grant programs such as VA’s homeless program and Veterans cemetery grants services, and opportunities with federal partner agencies, including the Department of Labor, Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, and Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration.

“We rely on organizations outside of VA to make sure that our Veterans and their families can access the services they have earned,” said Thomas Graves, director of VA’s Grants Management Services. “Our focus is on helping those organizations spend more time working with Veterans and less time researching the funding to do it.”

The webpage can also be accessed here where a listing of all Veteran-focused federal financial assistance can be found.  Here Veterans and partner organizations will also find links to all VA grant programs and the resources that support them.

The VA grant programs include:
State Home Per Diem Program (SHPD)
Construction of State Home Facilities (SHC)
Grant and Per Diem (GPD)
Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF)
National Veteran Sports Program (NVSP)
Specially Adapted Housing Assistance Technology (SAHAT)
Grants for Transportation of Veterans in Highly Rural Areas (TVHRA)
Rural Veterans Coordination Program (RVCP)
State Nurse Retention Grant Program (SNRGP)
Veterans Cemetery Grants Services (VCGS)


Breaking: Veterans are People too

VeteransRecently, the Veteran community has been forced to fight back on a disturbing narrative: Veterans are dangerous, violent people that society should be wary of. It doesn’t take much for some media outlets to push this agenda either. It seems all they need is one person, who happened to serve in the military at any time, to commit a heinous act, and the sensationalist headlines driving high ratings start pouring in.

Alex Horton tweet

Today, The Opinion Pages of the New York Times posted a story by Kathleen Belew that claims “the return of [Veterans] from combat appears to correlate more closely with Klan membership than any other historical factor,” and linked the murder of three innocent people in Kansas by one man to a generation of Vietnam Veterans.

Even though she admits “the number of Vietnam [Veterans] in that movement was small” and “a vast majority of veterans are neither violent nor mentally ill” she continues disparaging Veterans in general. Ms. Belew interprets information from a nine-page Department of Homeland Security report, which essentially connects extremist views to disillusionment and warns that people who feel ostracized by society can be susceptible to recruitment by radical groups (something we see in other aspects of society), and uses it to promote her view that Veterans are inherently volatile due to their military service and have contributed to the growth of white-supremacist groups in the United States.

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Tele-Health Audiology Clinic Takes Virtual Walk-ins

VA has made all kinds of care more convenient to Veterans in remote locales. Allowing them to be treated by their health-care providers from where they live, without traveling long distances to meet the doctor in person at a medical facility, is rapidly becoming one of the most cost-efficient and time-saving ways to receive health care.

The Veterans in the Florida Keys absolutely love VA tele-health connections which include audiology, dermatology, eye exams, women veterans programs, podiatry, mental health and much more. You don’t retire or live in the keys to spend a lot of the time going back and forth to the Miami VA Medical Center. It’s 161 miles, or just over 161 miles between Key West and Miami, and any who lives there will tell you it is very aggravating spending much time going back and fort to the mainland even if the commute is much shorter.

This report was produced by Adam Poitras of the Miami VA Healthcare System.


Homeless No More – With Help From VA, Veteran is On His Feet Again

Veteran Roswell Goler was homeless for five years, but now the former Navy Corpsman is living on his own and works as an emergency medical technician. VA was able to help him get a housing grant so he could start school and life again. Our VA News team spoke with him at the D.C. VA Medical Center’s Winter Haven stand down in January and got his story.  Find out more in episode 572 of VA News.

VA is committed to ending Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. No one who has served our country should ever go without a safe, stable place to call home.

Know that one phone call can be the difference in the life of a Veteran who is homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. Make the Call to 877-4AID-VET (424-3838) to be connected 24/7 with VA’s services to overcome or prevent homelessness for yourself or a Veteran you know.


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Fighting Stereotypes: “Deadly Aftermath Of War Right Here At Home” is less deadly than the general population

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports, Chicago Police, Huffington Post

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports, Chicago Police, Huffington Post

The media’s reaction to the Fort Hood shooting was somewhat expected.

The unfounded accusation brands Veterans as ticking time bombs, intentionally or not. Veterans, advocates and other less reactionary journalists responded by pointing out that PTSD does not equate to violence.

Apparently everyone didn’t get the memo. On Tuesday, April 8, Huffington Post published “This Map Shows The Deadly Aftermath Of War Right Here At Home,” a headline sure to have great click-through rates.

The article and graphic compares Veteran-connected homicides in the U.S. per year to U.S. military combat deaths abroad per year. We weren’t the only ones to notice that this connection is unfounded. Gawker and Business Insider both weighed in as well. The response was enough to prompt Huffington Post to add “We regret the lack of contextual information in highlighting these tragedies,” but the graphic remains unchanged.

I’m an intelligence analyst by trade. Trained by the U.S. Marine Corps, I spent 5 years creating intelligence products. I then used the GI Bill and earned a bachelor degree in intelligence studies from the oldest civilian intelligence program in the country, Mercyhurst University in Erie, Penn. For nearly a decade of my life the most important thing in my work was the source of my data. I could not consider someone else’s work as verifiable because somewhere down the line a general, a professor or a client was going to ask me where the numbers came from. Read More »


Nothing Changes if I Don’t Change

mhgov_badge_logo_200x200_o1_v1Editor’s note: This blog is cross-posted from Find the original post here.

What does being a Veteran mean to me?

It brings me a great sense of pride and accomplishment unlike nothing before. When that initial “calling” reached out to me – someone who wanted to serve his country – my reaction was one of uncertainty. That feeling of facing the unknown, of, “What you have gotten yourself into?” was with me while on the quiet bus ride late at night heading to boot camp.

As a Marine you learn to function as part of a team under strenuous conditions, some you wonder if they would make it through, and very few men and women I have talked to want to forget what they have experienced while in the military, no matter what it was.

But post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can stem from any number of difficult experiences that come with serving in a conflict zone or other hazardous situation: trauma, rape, murder, stress; all things most don’t want to discuss. Read More »