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VA Secretary Appoints Panel of National Suicide Experts
Date:5/21/2008

Goal Is Reducing Veterans' Suicides

WASHINGTON, May 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake today announced the names of members appointed to two special panels that will make recommendations on ways the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can improve its programs in suicide prevention, suicide research and suicide education.

"There is nothing more tragic than the death by suicide of even one of the great men or women who have served this nation," Peake said. "VA is committed to doing all we can to improve our understanding of a complicated issue that is also a national concern."

Membership in the first group, the "Blue Ribbon Work Group on Suicide Prevention in the Veterans Population," will be comprised of government experts in various suicide prevention and education programs. Those experts will come from agencies including the Department of Defense, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute of Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The five-member work group is expected to meet from June 11-13, and will develop a report with recommendations for the Secretary within 15 days of meeting.

The second group is a nine-member expert panel, made up of nationally renowned experts in public health suicide programs, suicide research and clinical treatment programs, that will provide professional opinion, interpretation, and conclusions on information and data to the work group. It will also make recommendations to the work group on opportunities for improvement in VA's programs.

Secretary Peake initially announced the formation of the work group during testimony to the House Veterans Affairs Committee on May 6.

Members of the "Blue Ribbon Work Group on Suicide Prevention in the Veterans Population" include:

-- Cmdr. Alex E. Crosby, M.D., medical epidemiologist with the Centers for

Disease Control and Preven
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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