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N.J. Hospitals, Military and Veterans Affairs Join Broad Effort to Improve Returning Vets' Healthcare
Date:11/6/2008

PRINCETON, N.J., Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The New Jersey Hospital Association and the N.J. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs have partnered with more than a dozen national organizations in a sweeping effort to educate healthcare professionals, veterans and family members about the unique health-related problems faced by returning veterans.

Through the Joining Forces campaign, medical professionals across the nation can now receive training online on how to deal with the health issues facing our nation's troops as they return home from service. The nationwide effort aims to direct medical professionals to these free resources, as well as raise awareness among the cadre of support organizations that provide assistance to service men and women and their families.

"New Jersey's hospitals are honored to support our returning troops," said NJHA President and CEO Betsy Ryan. "After their honorable service to our country, it's our privilege and duty to help meet their ongoing healthcare needs."

"Taking care of our newest generation of veterans is a top priority," added Stephen G. Abel, deputy commissioner of the N.J. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. "This is just another step in the process to make sure all veterans receive the care they deserve."

Healthcare professionals are encouraged to take part in a four-part educational video series, available at http://www.joiningforcesonline.org. The series was developed by HealthPartners Institute of Medical Education in Minnesota and is now offered nationally through the support of the American Hospital Association, the Veteran's Health Administration, the American Medical Association, the National Council of Churches and many others.

The series provides a general overview of healthcare issues faced by returning military, with special focus on the most common concerns facing returning veterans, including challenges of reintegration, mild traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. These problems often are invisible in initial medical visits. One goal of the program is to encourage all healthcare professionals to routinely ask patients if they have served in the military overseas. That's especially important for personnel who have served through the National Guard, who often return home and seek care from a hometown physician.

The effort has been endorsed by General Colin L. Powell (Ret.).

Said Gen. Powell: "If you are a healthcare professional, a counselor, clergy, teacher, social worker, are in the human services professions or know someone who has served in the military overseas, Joining Forces will help you make a difference in the lives of those who have given us so much - our veterans."


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SOURCE New Jersey Hospital Association
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