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Important Free Virtual Lecture Series On Military Culture and Health Risks of Service

November 08, 2021

Baystate Health will launch a free Military Veterans Virtual Healthcare Lunchtime Series on Wednesday, Nov. 3, with “Overview of Military Culture and the Health Risks of Military Service.”

Led by Janet Fraser Hale, professor emeritus of UMass Medical School, she will explain how military service may impact a veteran’s behavior and health.

The Wednesday virtual lecture series – featuring experts in military culture and healthcare - will begin at noon and end at 1 or 1:30 pm depending on the topic and session.

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A Collaborative Series

The series is a collaboration with VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System, Central Hampshire Veterans’ Services, and the Western Massachusetts Veterans Outreach Project. It is Baystate’s second project with the community partners.

The continuing education course is designed for emergency medical technicians, first responders, physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, mental health providers, and veterans’ services representatives, as well as anyone who works with or assists veterans of military service. Veterans and their family members are also invited to participate. During each session, participants will hear from leaders in the veteran community on relevant topics and ideas related to military service from understanding the unique health risks of veterans to community reintegration challenges.

“The goal of the series is to build the capacity of our region’s medical professionals in better serving our returning veterans and their families,” said Ida Konderwicz, RN, BSN, CEN, injury prevention coordinator at Baystate Health, who also serves as the course organizer. She is coordinating the event in conjunction with the hospital’s Baystate Health Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma, Acute Care Surgery & SICU, and Baystate Continuing Interprofessional Education.

Session Dates and Topics

Additional dates and topics and presenters include:

Nov. 10: “Community Reintegration: On Homecoming and Belonging” – John Paradis, member of the Western Massachusetts Veterans Outreach Project. Paradis will describe how the impact of military service contributes to a veteran’s sense of self and the veteran’s need for continued meaning and purpose when returning home from service.

Nov. 17: “VA Suicide Prevention” – Kate Nye, a suicide prevention coordinator with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, will explore the issues concerning suicide and mental health in the veteran community and talk about important ways to take part in suicide prevention and how to help veterans in crisis.

Dec. 1: “Traumatic Brain Injury in Combat Veterans” – Jill Thurman and Lee Ashendorf, experts who work with veterans with TBI, will discuss what has been called the “signature wound” of the recent conflicts in Southwest Asia and will review treatment coordination and management of veterans with persisting symptoms following a TBI.

Dec. 8: “Achievements and Challenges Facing Military and Veteran Families” – Kathryn Basham, professor emeritus at Smith College School of Social Work, will discuss the impact of military service and deployments on military families and children and the corresponding factors in supporting them.

January sessions will review how the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs works with local community providers in scheduling healthcare for veterans and will look at the unique environmental health exposures related to military service. A future session on the use of mediation training to help veterans resolve conflict is also being planned.

Continuing education credits are available.

Advance registration is required.

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