Army Veteran, double amputee committed to inspiring others

Men's Health November 2014
Noah Galloway is 32 years old and a former Army Sergeant. The Birmingham, Alabama, native enlisted in October 2001, joining the 502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne Division.

He deployed to Iraq in 2003.

“I loved my job as an infantry soldier,” says Galloway. “In the first year I was there, I saw the difference and progress we were making. I could not wait to return. Just the thought of going back thrilled me.”

Galloway’s world changed on Dec. 19, 2005, when he was injured in an IED attack in Yusafiah, Iraq.  He lost his left arm above the elbow and left leg above the knee. His road to recovery began in Germany, and continued at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Noah Galloway at the 2013 Midwest Valor Games

Noah Galloway at the 2013 Midwest Valor Games

While Galloway’s journey wasn’t an easy one, he has worked to overcome his injuries, including the invisible ones. The Army Veteran participated in the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon and a host of extreme sport challenges. In 2013, Galloway shared his story with more than 150 Veterans at the VA-sponsored Midwest Valor Games. He challenged fellow Veterans not to let their disability define them.

Noah Galloway’s determination is one of the reasons he was just selected to grace the cover of the November 2014 Men’s Health magazine.

Watch more of Galloway’s story, courtesy of Men’s Health.

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A Veteran’s brave story from sea cave rescue to summer sports

Tristan Heaton remembers the sea cave.

The U.S. Coast Guard Veteran says the Cape Lookout, Oregon, rescue of two brothers trapped in a sea cave was something that “changed my life, challenged me, and prepared me for every day since then.”

Heaton now serves as the director of the VA’s National Summer Sports Clinic, one of the several programs designed to improve the quality of life for Veterans with disabilities.

Watch how first-time participants do things they never thought they could.

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VA News #586

#586
Oct. 6 & 13, 2014

Hosts: Ann Czapiewski & Clifton Coates
Excutive Producer: Ken McKinnon
Run Time: 15:00

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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Memorial honoring disabled Veterans dedicated in DC

Dedication of the American Veterans Disabled for Life MemorialOn Sunday, October 5, 2014, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C.

The dedication ceremony included remarks from President Barack Obama, VA Secretary Bob McDonald, former Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell, and Gary Sinise, who is the national spokesman for the Disabled Veterans Life Memorial Foundation.

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VA continues enrollment system analysis to seek improved data

VA ICAREOn August 17, 2014, I blogged in response to media reports alleging the mishandling of VA enrollment applications. In the short time since my first blog, the staff at the Health Eligibility Center (HEC) in Atlanta, GA, has continued the important task of analyzing our Enrollment System to identify potential issues and to improve the delivery of this critical service to America’s Veterans.

Caring for our nation’s Veterans is the highest honor and privilege for the men and women who serve them at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Our mission is to provide timely access to earned health care and benefits for millions of Veterans. That is a responsibility that we do not take lightly. It is important that we openly discuss how we intend to improve.

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VA, partners provide education benefits for surviving spouses, children of fallen servicemembers

While hundreds of millions of dollars in private scholarships and education benefits exist for families of fallen military service members, many of these families struggle because they do not know these benefits exist.

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors also known as TAPS, recently stood up their new Military Survivor Education Support Services Program in an effort to provide one-on-one counseling to bereaved military families who may be eligible for education benefits.

VA is one of several partners in this program committed to informing military families of their earned benefits.

TAPS founder Bonnie Carroll (right) and Malia Fry (middle) present VA Senior Advisor for Veterans employment Royse Cloud with an award recognizing VA for its contribution to education for military survivors.

TAPS founder Bonnie Carroll (right) and Malia Fry (middle) present VA Senior Advisor for Veterans employment Rosye Cloud with an award recognizing VA for its contribution to education for military survivors.

“I think it is very important to note that government can’t do this alone,” said Rosye Cloud, senior advisor for Veteran employment at Veteran Affairs.  “We are going to work together to ensure that every surviving spouse and child understands all of the benefits their parent or spouse earned for them.”

VA has a tradition of supporting private-public partnerships. The Fry Scholarship was founded by Malia Fry, the surviving spouse of U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry. Due to her tireless effort and many supporting partners, the scholarship was made law. It amended the Post-9/11 GI Bill (chapter 33) to include the children of service members who die in the line of duty after Sept. 10, 2001. Read More »

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Update on VA’s scheduling software system

VA Secretary Bob McDonald learns more about VA’s scheduling system from Michael Logie, Medical Support Assistant at the Phoenix VA Medical Center.

VA Secretary Bob McDonald learns more about VA’s scheduling system from Michael Logie, a medical support assistant at the Phoenix VA Medical Center. (REYNALDO LEAL/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)

We know how important it is to get a modern scheduling system in the hands of our employees so they can better meet the needs of Veterans in getting access to care they deserve. We have tried to be as open and transparent about this effort as possible. To continue that openness, I wanted to take a moment to provide an update to the timeline laid out in our recent press release and correct the record on an important aspect of the deployment plan.

On Sept. 17, VA posted a Scheduling Performance Work Statement and business requirements documentation for industry review and comment. We did this so that we could receive industry feedback on our requirements (in addition to feedback already received through constant engagement with vendors over the last year or so), and also identify any inconsistencies or errors.

The comments were due on Sept. 26, and we’re going through an extensive amount of industry feedback at this time.

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VA employee one of the top-10 most influential women in health IT

Last year, VA launched several pilots of secure mobile applications to help Veterans, caregivers and VA clinical teams provide unprecedented opportunities and become active partners in health care through mobile technology. The driving force behind those initiatives is VA’s co-director of Connected Health, Kathleen L. Frisbee, MPH, Ph.D., who was recently named as one of the Top-10 influential women in health IT by FierceHealthIT  for 2014.

kfrisbee

Kathleen L. Frisbee  was recently named as one of the Top-10 influential women in health IT by FierceHealthIT for 2014.

With more than 25 years in health IT leadership roles across VA, Frisbee’s work to bring health technology to Veterans is impressive. FierceHealthIT recognized Frisbee specifically for leading VA’s Mobile Health initiative, where she oversees the development of mobile health apps for Veterans and providers, and for shaping the vision of how VA can use mobile technology in the future. Frisbee was integral in the establishment of the initiative and execution of the field tests, such as the Family Caregiver Pilot.

“These tools increase access to health care and further demonstrate VA’s commitment to improving the Veteran and caregiver experience,” Frisbee said during the launch of the pilot program that provided iPads to more than 1,000 caregivers of seriously injured Post-9/11 Veterans. The mobile devices featured a suite of apps that allow Veterans and caregivers to access and share information about health conditions and treatment options directly with health care providers, creating closer partnerships. Read More »

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H-PACT: enhances relationships, fights homelessness and saves lives

Marshall’s Success Story

My name is Michael Marshall. I am a 49-year-old U.S. Air Force Veteran who has been diagnosed with PTSD. I had a promising career with the Air Force until an unfortunate incident occurred, one in which I was too embarrassed to ever speak of again. So I self-medicated. That proved to be the beginning of a series of extremely bad choices and a downward spiral that eventually lead me to prison. I went on to using and selling all types of drugs for the next 20 years of my life.

I come from a very close-knit family that goes to church faithfully and is very involved within the church. One day in a moment of clarity, I saw my family and myself deteriorating to the point of certain death. I had lost my brother and father to the disease of addiction, yet I self-medicated even more than them just to cover up how I really felt about what was going within me. I had gotten to the point where I found myself on the streets of Chicago, without a home for roughly 10 years. I found myself living in and out of abandoned houseAs Ajust to stay warm on winter nights. Read More »

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VA researchers receive coveted service award for ground-breaking work with paralyzed Veterans

For more than 25 years, Bill Bauman and Ann Spungen have worked together to make the lives of paralyzed Veterans better. Last night, their dedication to their patients at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx was recognized as the pair was awarded the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Science and Environment Medal.

The annual award ceremony, presented by the Partnership for Public Service in Washington, D.C., showcased the best and brightest employees the federal government has to offer.

Bauman and Spungen’s research focused on understanding the effects spinal cord injuries have on the human body. Eventually, they were able to attribute illnesses, like increased heart disease and asthma-like lung conditions, to high levels of paralysis. Once they were able to find the root causes of the conditions affecting their patients, Bauman and Spungen were able to create treatment plans for Veterans across VA’s healthcare system.

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