Approximately 22.6 million U.S. military veterans live in the United States today and more than half of them are wartime veterans. Many of them qualify for healthcare through the VA but choose private healthcare instead. As an academic institution encompassing many healthcare fields, it is important that our students are aware of the issues, challenges and rewards associated with caring for a military population. This conference promotes awareness of issues and challenges in providing services to the veteran population. After attending the conference, students will better understand these issues and be able to apply this knowledge when providing healthcare in the many areas where veterans will need their service.
During the summer of 2013 an article entitled, Enhancing Veteran-Centered Care: A Guide for Nurses in Non-VA Settings (1), was shared with the nursing faculty at MCPHS University. Dean Eiladi requested that an interprofessional team, consisting of faculty members from multiple programs on the Worcester campus, be created to promote awareness of veteran-centered care to our professional healthcare students. A conference took place on the Worcester campus on November 25, 2013 and consisted of a panel of experts and MCPHS students who discussed various topics including veteran health care, mental health, woman's health and traumatic brain injury. It was a huge success and the MCPHS University's Annual Veteran-Centered Care Conference was born!
A newly released publication, Caring for Veterans in the Private Sector (2) also explores this topic.