Two Lyon County residents, Cara Childs and Christy McGill, will be among the presenters at the national Veterans Health Administration Office of Rural Health conference at the University of Utah on March 13-14, 2012. Cara Childs, leader of the Silver Stage Community Task Force and Christy McGill, director of Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey, will both be part of a panel presentation on their part in the Veterans Administration Office of Rural Health’s pilot program in Lyon County called the “Rural Veteran Outreach.” The pilot program was one of only 6 conducted in the U.S., and resulted in a major veteran services outreach during the annual Silver Stage Task Force Wellness Fair in May 2011.
Veteran and Military Family Services Outreach: Christy McGill will also describe some of the new initiatives that have evolved since the Community Covenant to Military Families and Veterans Ceremony during the September 2010 Healthy Communities Coalition meeting in Yerington. Over 70 agency representatives, officials, community leaders, veterans, enlisted, and their families attended the ceremony pledging increased services outreach to military families and veterans in the Lyon County region. Some of those initiatives have included a monthly potluck social in Silver Springs with speakers from veterans’ and military family support organizations, on-going efforts to develop tele-health and other expanded health services access for veterans in the area, on-going efforts to connect veterans and their families to existing services and to share information about existing regional resources such as the Nevada Office of Veterans Services (NOVS), Women Veterans Program at VA Sierra Nevada, Army OneSource, Blue Star Moms of Northern Nevada, Reno Vet Center, Veteran’s Affairs new “Mobile Vet Centers”, and National Guard Military and Family Support Services, among many others.
Upcoming Presentations and Training on Veterans Concerns: Healthy Communities Coalition is also working with a variety of groups to bring additional training for the region’s direct service providers on the topics like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), TBI (traumatic brain injury) and My Healthe Vet. On May 10, Healthy Communities is hosting a special presentation by Dr. Marta Elliot of the UNR Veterans’ Coalition. Dr. Elliot, a sociology professor at UNR, received funding to study the needs of student veterans throughout Nevada’s colleges and universities, and recently issued a Needs Assessment of University of Nevada, Reno Student Veterans. She is Co-Chair of the UNR Veterans Coalition through which she advocates for the needs of veterans in Nevada. After her presentation on May 10, veterans will have an opportunity to meet with Dr. Elliot and participate in interdisciplinary research about veterans for the purpose of improved understanding and improved response to the needs and concerns of veterans. The research will ultimately contribute to developing a curriculum based on veterans’ experiences so that UNR can offer a Certificate in Veterans Studies.