VA’s Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiative (CFOI), The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI), in partnership with the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center, Indiana National Guard and the Department of Veterans Affairs sponsored “Battlemind to Home Summit,” on October 9, 2018, in Indianapolis, Indiana. There were approximately 300 participants.
The Battlemind to Home Summit brought together a variety of experts this year to inform and educate Indiana and other midwestern States professionals on the critical issues facing Veterans and military-connected families on how they can be an asset in Indiana’s and midwestern States communities.
The goal for this conference was to help reduce reintegration barriers for Veterans, service members and military families. The summit presenters, provided materials to educate attendees on the challenges Veterans and military-connected families face, the opportunities and strengths they bring to our communities, and how we can support them as they support their respective communities. This year the program also focuses on how Veterans are an essential part of our communities across the Nation, the barriers that need to be eliminated and what VA programs and services that are available for our Veterans, their families, Survivors, Caregivers and other beneficiaries.
MFRI and the Battlemind to Home Summit Planning Committee, used a collaborative approach to plan and execute this event. With nationally recognized experts in all fields, Battlemind presented evidence-informed sessions that address many sensitive and cutting-edge topics. Past summit sessions have covered issues such as suicide, moral injury and community mobilization. This year’s featured content addressed:
- Issues regarding legal needs and support;
- How to address physical and mental health concerns;
- The tools needed to create a sense of community within civilian life for military personnel; and
- How faith-based and Community organizations (FBCOs) can support VA’s efforts to increase Veterans usage of VA programs and services
Further, organizational leadership discussed different topics such as legal, community and mental health challenges Veterans face. The Director for CFOI, Stephen B. Dillard, lead a breakout session where he discussed changes under the new Faith and Opportunity Initiative Executive Order that was implemented on May 3, 2018, the purpose of CFOI, the evolution of the collaboration between FBCOs and VA; and how the partnership between FBCOs and VA is viable to increasing Veterans enrollment in VA programs and services.
This year’s keynote speaker was Michael W. Fisher, MSW, Chief Readjustment Counseling Officer for Veterans Health Administration. Mr. Fisher stated, “The Vet Centers welcomes all Veterans so that the staff can access them and determine how they can service their needs.” He has direct oversight of 300 Vet Centers, 80 Mobile Vet Centers, and the Vet Center Call Center which all provide readjustment counseling to Veterans, active duty Service Members, and their families. There are Vet Centers facilities are in all 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.