UNC Charlotte Conference to Address Veterans’ Health Services Needs

“Access to Culturally Competent Health Services: Serving Military Veterans from a Holistic Perspective” is a half-day conference scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in UNC Charlotte’s Cone University Center McKnight Hall.

Registration is open for this free, public event, which will bring together national experts on veteran’s issues as well as students, faculty, service providers and members of the general public to share information on military culture and coordination of health care services to meet the needs of veterans returning from active military service and to support their success at UNC Charlotte and their transition to civilian life.

Keynote speakers for the conference will be retired Maj. Gen. Marianne Mathewson-Chapman and Ilario Pantano, director of the N.C. Division of Veterans Affairs and a former U.S. Marine Corps second lieutenant.

“Veterans are returning home to their communities, and the health conditions these returnees present provide unique challenges for health care professionals and organizations,” said Mathewson-Chapman, a former deputy surgeon general, U.S. Army National Guard and a national leader in health systems for military personnel and veterans. “Understanding the military culture and health and social needs of veterans will help federal, state and local community service providers to practice with cultural competence so these veterans may successfully transition back into roles as students, employees and family and community members.”

North Carolina is home to more than 800,000 veterans and the third-largest military force in the country, said Pantano. “Meeting the needs of service members, veterans and families requires interagency cooperation and collaboration,” he stated. The division’s working group is developing interagency solutions to make “North Carolina the state of choice for veterans.”

In addition to the keynote address, Christine Elnitksy, an associate professor in the College of Health and Human Services School of Nursing and wife of a U.S. Navy veteran, will moderate a panel discussion on services available to military veterans who are transitioning to student and community life. Special emphasis will be placed on collaboration and coordination of federal, state and civilian services to meet the needs of veterans transitioning from active military service to roles as students, employees, family and community members. 

Panel members will include Kimberly Floyd, vocational rehabilitation counselor, Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Regional Office; Alex Swanston, Certifying Official in Veteran Student Services, UNC Charlotte; Elizabeth Malone, a member of the clinical staff of the UNC Charlotte Counseling Center; James Prosser, veteran service officer at Mecklenburg County Community Support Services Department; and Debra Volkmer, director of transition services, outreach to Operations Iraqi, Enduring Freedom and New Dawn and lead caregiver support at W.G. Hefner VA Medical Center.

The UNC Charlotte College of Health and Human Services, School of Nursing and Department of Social Work, in partnership with the UNC Charlotte Office of Veterans Student Services, Student Health Center and Counseling Center, and Mecklenburg County Community Support Services, Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office and W.G. Hefner VA Medical Center, are cohosting “Access to Culturally Competent Health Services: Serving Military Veterans from a Holistic Perspective.”  The event is funded by a grant from the UNC Charlotte Chancellor’s Diversity Challenge Fund.

The conference will feature a research poster session and opportunities for audience interaction and questions with all the presenters. Attendees also will have the opportunity to visit the “community services” vendor fair and view an art exhibit featuring works by Rob Bates, a former U.S. Marine Corps lance corporal and current UNC Charlotte student.

Attendees may register by visiting the veteran health RSVP website.

Art credit: Robert Bates

Date Published: 
Thursday, December 4, 2014
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