Texas VA hosts first ever Veterans Whole Health Summit & Benefits Fair


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VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System (VCB) hosted the first ever Veterans Whole Health Summit & Benefits Fair on June 8, 2019.

More than 250 people attended the event, which was promoted to help eligible Veterans and their family members better understand how comprehensive, integrated, whole-health services can contribute to the development of self-empowering, self-healing and self-care behaviors.

“We hope this event gets people excited about the life changing health practices that are becoming available to them through the implementation of Whole Health services,” said Dr. John Miller, a VA psychologist who serves as the Health Behavior Coordinator for VCB.

Dr. Pamela Smith, a VA psychologist,leads a session of yoga during the Veterans Whole Health Summit and Benefits Fair hosted by VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System (VCB) on June 8, 2019, at the VA Health Care Center at Harlingen, Texas. (VA photo by Luis H. Loza Gutierrez)

According to the VA’s official Whole Health for Life website, healthcare providers have traditionally focused on what’s the matter with patients, zeroing in on their diseases and ailments; however, the VA is working on shifting the focus by instead starting a conversation about what matters most to Veterans.

“It is about getting to know you, putting you–rather than the disease–at the center of your health and your health care,” said Karla Cauldwell, who runs VCB’s Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Program.

The event provided guests with an opportunity to learn about pain management and some of the benefits associated with practicing or receiving tai chi, acupuncture, and chiropractic care, which VA began offering locally in April 2018. Yoga, meditation and guided imagery demonstration classes were also offered.

Raffle prizes were given away for those that registered and completed their stamp cards after visiting each of the nearly two dozen organizations that participated in the benefits fair. Private, non-profit organizations such as Family Endeavors, and the Veterans Association at South Texas College were represented at the fair along with Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) such as the Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) and the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC).

An assortment of healthy food and treats such a turkey ham wheat wraps, salads and fresh fruit were prepared and served by VA volunteers and members of H.E.B., while a local band played a variety of songs outdoors on stage provided by the city of Harlingen.

To view some of the more the 175 photos of the event on VCB’s Facebook photo album, click here,

(Mentioning of any private organizations or individuals strictly for news and information purposes only. No U.S. federal endorsement intended or implied.)


Author’s note: In a message to VA employees in September 2018, Secretary Robert Wilkie stated that Business Transformation “is also about more robust partnerships with state and local communities to address challenges like Veteran homelessness and suicide prevention.” June is PTSD Awareness Month. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has frequently been linked as a contributing factor to suicides and suicide attempts among service members and Veterans. Events like the first ever Veterans Health Summit & Benefits Fair directly supports of the VA’s fourth top priority of transforming its business systems, which as previously stated addresses challenges such as Veteran homelessness and suicide prevention.

Author

Luis Loza Gutierrez

Luis H. Loza Gutierrez joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in October of 2017 and serves as a public affairs specialist for VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System more commonly referred to as VCB.

In addition to winning multiple awards as a writer, editor, photographer, illustrator and graphic artist during his more than 10 years in the U.S. Air Force as a public affairs specialist and photojournalist, L.G. (as he was called by his fellow Airmen) also served as a member for the Grand Forks Air Force Base Honor Guard in North Dakota.

He volunteered to deploy out of cycle twice in a period of less than 18 months, the second of which included a six-month tour as a member of the public affairs team at United States Force-Iraq headquarters at Camp Victory in Baghdad.

The former non-commissioned officer returned home to the Rio Grande Valley in deep South Texas in November of 2015, and feels enthusiastic and honored to continue to serve his fellow brothers- and sisters-in-arms as a member of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

Comments

  1. Keith Squires    

    Is sitting the posture of a hero?

    As I began my treatment, like any good Marine, I prepared myself for the task. So weeks prior to my departure date I would travel away from home, in doing so I would force my comfort level to expand. I set goals that I could realistically obtain, although these goals were not easily achieved. I drove to places I didn’t want to be, sat with people I didn’t want to know, but I always had a family member, or two with me. As each obstacle was completed, so was that portion of my training. There were so many small goals that I set for myself so I could achieve the main goal, such was my hope. Although these are simple task for most, yet very difficult for me; I was able to make the journey to Tampa Florida, which was my main goal.

    Upon arrival at the James. A Haley VA hospital, I began a 3 week training program designed to help me be proactive with my health issues.
    As I meet with others who are also fighting their own battles , I was inspired by their determination, strength, and motivation

    The first day of treatment didn’t go as good as I had hoped; after an afternoon of appointments and planning my body shut down, my mind was ready, but my body would not!

    If you listen to your body and treat the problem, not the symptoms, you will have success. Ultimately this means allowing the pain to pass through and through. As for me and my fight, this philosophy has kept me breathing. And if you’re breathing, you’re still in the fight!!!

    The enemy does not live and dwell within me, others around me are not the cause of my affliction, my friends and family are not the problem, it’s not their battle, they don’t need to “understand”!

    I must toil to understand what my body is going through and I must use everything I have inside of me if I am to continue this amazing life that God Himself has began.

    So if you see me lying in bed for hours on end, taking long showers, praying with tears running down my face, of sitting quietly in a crowded room, please don’t be offended for I am learning.
    Sometimes sitting is the posture of a hero. It’s not a battle, it’s an understanding. As the warm tears run down my face and drip on the floor I am reminded that my mind and body are in this journey as one.

    If you want to help me, pray for me, sit with me, and cry with me
    For He who began a good work in me will bring it to completion upon the day of Jesus Christ

    Keith R Squires
    USMC

  2. 2019 Gqom amapiano    

    Health certainly is wealth. A very great idea to keep up with the required fitness.

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