Minority Veterans focus of September summit


Minority Veterans’ needs and issues about VA benefits and services will be the focus of the inaugural 2019 National Minority Veterans Summit Sept. 27-28 at the Sheraton Hotel in Dallas, Texas.

Attendees will hear from VA senior leaders as well as participate in breakout sessions focused on compensation and pension, employment, physical and mental health, entrepreneurship and more.

VA Secretary Robert L. Wilkie is scheduled to attend the summit.

Hosted by the Center for Minority Veterans, or CMV, the summit is designed to engage, inform and educate minority Veterans and their families about the latest VA programs and services that will provide a positive impact their lives, said Stephen B. Dillard, executive director for CMV.

Target audiences for the summit include all Veterans, their families, survivors, caregivers, public sector partners including military, federal, state and local agencies, Veteran Service Organizations, other nonprofit partners, researchers, representatives from the tech industry, community partners and VA employees.

“CMV realizes that we cannot save the world with this summit however, our goal is to capitalize on the subject matter expert’s presentations, breakout session and research, and assist with disseminating these issues and following up with our Veterans,” Dillard said.

Summit will be ‘springboard’

Dillard said the summit will be a “springboard” that will help Veterans in the following areas:

  • An onsite claims clinic
  • Understanding their benefits
  • Continuing education opportunities
  • Understanding the new compensation, pension, and new appeals modernization processes
  • Suicide prevention
  • The new community care and caregivers policy and regulation
  • Understanding the MISSION Act

“VA is focusing on effective customer service, implementation of the MISSION Act, completing the transfer of Veteran medical records to electronic health records and implementing the VA Appeals Modernization Process,” Dillard said. “As a result, in order to engage, inform and educate our minority Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors, it is imperative we create a platform to share this important and most current information regarding VA programs and services.”

Dillard said hearing issues from minority Veterans will also be an important part of the summit. He said some specific issues facing minority Veterans are low enrollment in health care, targeted medical research and making sure they have comprehensive health care—something better available through the MISSION Act.

“This is our inaugural summit,” he said. “It will help us identify the critical needs of our minority Veterans.”

The VA has more than 275 Minority Veterans Program Coordinators throughout the nation. Those coordinators are training Sept. 26 and will be on hand Sept. 27-28 to assist Veterans.

Dillard said VA leaders want two important takeaways: Veteran expectations of VA and what issues they have that VA may assist with. He said VA will take this information back to provide the best solutions for Veterans while providing effective and efficient VA programs and services.

To sign up for the summit or to learn more, see https://whova.com/web/nmvs_201909/.


Adam Stump

Adam Stump is a public affairs specialist who joined VA’s Digital Media Engagement team in July 2019. He is a retired Air Force Veteran who served 20 years, including tours as a Defense Information School Instructor, the photojournalist for the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Public Affairs Adviser to the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, and two deployments to Afghanistan for detention operations and special operations.


  1. Charles    

    Can’t get any more spot on than that. It is this sort of BS in government that divides us. They do the same for LGBTQ. They have flown the flag for LGBTQ at many veteran offices. No one should have special rights.

    The VA is authorized to provide:

    Hormone treatment
    Substance use/alcohol treatment
    Tobacco cessation treatment
    Treatment and information on prevention of sexually transmitted infections/PrEP
    Intimate partner violence reduction and treatment of after effects
    Heart health
    Appropriate cancer screening, prevention and treatment

    PC world we live in. Constitution says nothing about special rights. More tax dollars wasted.

  2. Patricia Smith    

    Thanks, Jody Williams, for voicing the opinion many of us feel. Racial preference in any direction is still racism!

  3. Jody Williams    

    More catering services and events to minorities means more ignoring veteran wide problems. This is how the VA has consistently deflected and ignored the issues, by diverting attention away from problems that affect everyone to problems that only affect certain people.

    This is discrimination. This is negligence. This is wrong.

  4. Frances Totsoni    

    Thank you for the information. I am a Navajo woman veteran living on the Navajo Indian lands near Chinle, Arizona. I belong to our small local Navajo veterans organization and we do not have access to veteran information most of the time because of limited internet access and because we have no VA offices on our huge reservation. The closest VA offices are at least a 2 to 3 hour drive from our community.

    I want to attend the National Minority Veteran Summit in September but have no funds for hotel and airfare. I am retired and live on limited funds. I want to know if your organization or other organizations provide financial assistance to veterans to attend the Summit. I want to get information to help my fellow Navajo veterans in my community so they can use it to take advantage of their veteran benefits.

    Thank for reading my email and maybe providing some financial assistance.

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