Archive for the 'Health & Living' Category

Disabled Veterans Transition to STEM Fields

Aug 26 2014

CathedralofLearningReturning from the battlefield isn’t always easy – and trying to fill in the holes, referred to as “Swiss cheese” by one veteran, can make the transition even harder.

Now there’s a program at the University of Pittsburgh that gives veteran students living and housing stipends, and enrolls them in a program called ELeVATE (Experiential Learning for Veterans in Assistive Technology and Engineering). Veteran mentors help the students through rehabilitation research in STEM fields for academic credit.

Inside HigherEd describes the program this way:

But addressing other problems – such as an inability to relate to non-veteran peers, or cognitive and physical disabilities caused by injury – requires painstaking day-to-day work.

Such work is happening at the University of Pittsburgh, where a college transition program for disabled veterans interested in STEM disciplines has earned the admiration of national student veterans’ groups…

…The lab specializes in assistive technology – devices for people with disabilities — and receives funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Rory Cooper, the lab’s director, is an Army veteran who sustained a spinal cord injury while serving.

All the participants have cognitive or physical impairments – most commonly traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. The program, called ELeVATE (Experiential Learning for Veterans in Assistive Technology and Engineering) began in summer 2011, with the help of a $470,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Five or six veterans participate each year. The fourth group of participants finished the program at the end of July…

qoltcThe program at the University of Pittsburgh has gained the backing of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the notice of the American Legion. Hopefully ELeVATE will successfully help integrate disabled veterans into STEM fields, and become a model for other universities in the future!

Cathedral of Learning (9279174346)” by Brandon SheaCathedral of Learning Uploaded by crazypaco. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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Friday Fun: Freedom Isn’t Free

Aug 22 2014

They’re hard rockers, but they have a softer side, too! Watch the new video for Five Finger Death Punch’s song Wrong Side of Heaven.

It shines a spotlight on homeless military veterans and the effects of PTSD! Via Rock 103:

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Vets Prevail: Reconnecting Veterans To Civilian Life

Aug 21 2014

Published by under Health & Living

In a follow-up to a post from a few years ago, it looks like Vets Prevail has expanded their offerings through a contract with the VA:

Vets Prevail is an online resource provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that was built in collaboration with the Veterans Health Administration, the National Science Foundation, and leading mental health researchers and clinicians. This one of a kind program model is easily accessible from any internet connection and provides evidence-based ‘??early interventions’? to individuals who otherwise may not be able or willing to engage with traditional avenues for care.

The VetsPrevail program now offers easy mobile access, so users can receive care anywhere they have access to internet, including their phones. The multimedia platform allows users to engage with trained veteran peer specialists or interact with the active veteran community Vets Prevail hosts online, in addition to completing CBT programs that focus on the issue the user is struggling with. Users are even awarded points as they navigate through the content, which they can redeem for gift cards to Starbucks, various restaurants, or

Watch coverage of the Vets Prevail program from PBS NewsHour: Internet program helps veterans reconnect with civilian life.


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An Ode to Military Working Dogs

Aug 05 2014

Published by under Health & Living

BuzzFeed is known for their quizzes and perfectly curated albums of cat pictures. But in honor of International Assistance Dog Week (August 3-9, 2014), they’ve created an ode to military working dogs. And we, of course, had to share. Because puppies.

Some heroes are four-legged. With Service Dog Appreciation week approaching, we celebrate and remember six incredible dogs of war.

Take, for example, Sergeant Rex. Rex served ten years in the Marine Corps, even patrolling the triangle of death in Baghdad.

In 2004 Sgt. Rex spent his first deployment to the Middle East in Iraq with his handler, Corporal Mike Dowling. They were together for two and a half years, working the frontlines and saving American soldiers’ lives by locating planted explosives.

See pictures of Sergeant Rex and some of his fellow military working dogs on BuzzFeed.

Image of Sergeant Rex via the Sergeant Rex Facebook page. Training in the Camp Pendleton hills. The CPEN K9 kennels and office are in the background. February/2003 #ThrowbackThursday

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Congrats to the Recipients of the 2014 SecDef Employer Support Freedom Award

Jul 29 2014

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense (DoD) office, announced today 15 recipients of the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest honor DoD gives to employers for support of National Guard and Reserve employees.

“I’m honored to announce the recipients of the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award,” said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. “Guardsmen and Reservists across the nation rely on strong bonds with their civilian employers. By recognizing these 15 exceptional employers, the Department of Defense celebrates the contributions made by American employers to our Citizen Warriors. I commend these extraordinary employers for their unwavering commitment to service members and their families.”

The 2014 Freedom Award recipients below will be honored at a ceremony in the Pentagon Sept. 26:

  • Arizona Public Service
Phoenix, Arizona Army Reserve
  • AT&T
Dallas, Texas Coast Guard Reserve
  • Capital One
McLean, Virginia Army National Guard
  • CH2M-WG Idaho
Idaho Falls, Idaho Navy Reserve
  • General Mills, Inc.
Golden Valley, Minnesota Army National Guard
  • J.G. Management Systems, Inc.
Grand Junction, Colorado Air Force Reserve
  • Los Angeles Fire Department
Los Angeles, California Navy Reserve
  • N.H. Department of Environmental Services
Concord, New Hampshire Army National Guard
  • PNC Bank
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Army National Guard
  • Shofner Vision Center
Nashville, Tennessee Air Force Reserve
  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Memphis, Tennessee Army Reserve
  • Triumph Pharmaceuticals Inc.
St. Louis, Missouri Army National Guard
  • UNC Health Care
Chapel Hill, North Carolina Navy Reserve
  • Washoe County School District
Reno, Nevada Air National Guard
  • Zions Bank
Salt Lake City, Utah Army National Guard


The 2014 recipients were selected from 2,864 nominations received from Guardsmen and Reservists for going far beyond what the federal law requires to support their military employees. Last year, recipients met with President Barack Obama and senior Defense Department leaders as part of the award recognition.


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