Judith Foster, a Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) social worker at the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin, Georgia, received the Code of Support Foundation’s (COSF) prestigious national “Salute to Service” award at the COSF’s recent ceremony in Washington, DC, in recognition of the exemplary way in which Ms. Foster serves Veterans and their family members every day.
The award was presented to Foster on April 26 as part of “Toast to our Troops” ceremony by COSF co-founders retired Maj. Gen. Alan Salisbury, who also is COSF’s chairman; and Kristy Kaufmann, chief executive officer for COSF. The award was co-presented by Dr. Lynda Davis of the Veterans Experience Office and Cassandra Law, associate chief patient care services officer for the Veterans Health Administration.
The COSF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has grown to serve more than 3,000 of our nation’s Service Members, Veterans, and their families by providing essential one-on-one assistance to Veterans, Service Members & their families.
“Code of Support is proud to be working with the VA. Judith Foster has been collaborating with our case coordination team for two years really making sure the system serves Veterans and to leverage Code of Support to get all the resources they need,” said Kaufman. “It’s all hands-on deck – Judith is one of the exemplary employees at the local VA level who does this every day, and together our team has changed lives.”
“At the national level, we often talk about the importance of collaboration and partnerships between the Department of Veterans Affairs and non-governmental organizations. While this is key, it is at the field level, where our dedicated VA providers illustrate their commitment and true power of these partnerships, said Law. “Judith’s work with the COSF’s Veteran Peer Navigators, is a shining example of how collaboration, dedication and can-do attitude improves the lives of our nation’s Veterans and their families. We were very proud to join the Code of Support in recognizing Judith for her outstanding contributions”
Foster first came into contact with COSF while working with the VA HUD-VASH program, which helps homeless Veterans.
“I referred Veterans to their organization for assistance,” Foster said, “It is very important to form community partnerships.”
Foster’s VA career began in working in suicide prevention and then later with the HUD/VASH program, which helps homeless Veterans. Recently she began working as a social worker within the PACT at the Dublin VAMC where she performs a variety of roles, including dealing with complicated psychosocial problems of Veterans, their families, and caregivers.
In her current job at the Dublin VA Medical Center, Ms. Foster is responsible for assessment of psychosocial problems that cause distress, often impacting the health condition and creating barriers to care. Stressors can include adjustment to a current medical condition, untreated or under-treated medical and mental health or substance use conditions, economic instability, legal problems and inadequate housing and transportation. PACT Social Workers receive and respond to referrals from any member of the interdisciplinary team.
Foster said she provides education, resources, case management, and helps Veterans obtain needed services and navigate through the VA system.
“I have worked with many Veterans in suicide prevention, HUD-VASH and most recently the PACT program,” Foster said. I am honored to have served these Veterans and their families and it is great to hear from Veterans and their families how thankful they are for what we do.”
About the Author: William Outlaw is a communications specialist with the Office of Patient Care Services.