A pioneering veteran-oriented community engagement project, which commenced in December, is kick-starting an innovative campaign to comprehensively incorporate the input of veterans, researchers, and community members in the evolving dialogue around ways to improve veteran healthcare. Linda Weglicki, Ph.D., R.N., a professor and associate dean for nursing research and scholarship and Ph.D. studies and a Schmidt Family Foundation Distinguished Professor in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University (www.nursing.fau.edu/) has been named as a collaborative academic research member on a multi-state project called “Veterans’ Action League,” (VAL), responsible for leading a dynamic two-year conversation empowering veterans to have an active voice in guiding veteran healthcare delivery.
“This program is in response to the 23 million veterans in this country who need healthcare services,” said Weglicki. “The six participating states, including Florida, were selected because we have the largest veteran populations. We are working collectively to identify resources and come up with solutions to decrease and ultimately eliminate some of the challenges veterans and their families encounter such as continuity-of-care in services, difficulty navigating the system and inadequate healthcare services.”
Additionally, a veteran in each state has been named a VAL unit leader, and will play an integral leadership role in engaging the veteran community over the course of the project. VAL unit leaders and collaborative academic research members from each state have joined forces and resources to facilitate stakeholder-centered dialogues concerning veteran health and wellness. In concert with the military healthcare initiative Canines Providing Assistance to Wounded Warriors (C-P.A.W.W.) under the direction of Cheryl Krause-Parello, Ph.D., R.N., housed within the College of Nursing at the Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado (www.nursing.ucdenver.edu/C-PAWW), this national project examines what information veterans need and want to make informed decisions about their healthcare.
To improve the health outcomes of military veterans, Weglicki is connecting with powerhouse teams of researchers from the University of Colorado Denver, University of San Diego, University of Texas San Antonio,Pennsylvania State University, University of Rochester, and the Ohio State University as well as committed veteran leaders in each state. The ultimate goal of this collaboration is the development of an interactive tool-kit for use by veterans, community organizations and healthcare providers to connect veterans with available resources, presented in a straightforward, user-friendly format.
“We know that veterans reintegrating back into civilian life can face enormous pressure and challenges,” said project lead Krause-Parello, director of C-P.A.W.W. “Many veterans may feel disconnected from the myriad resources that exist to help them. If we take the time to listen to veterans, we can empower our veterans to make the best possible decisions for their own health.”
Using a blend of in-person meetings and digital conferencing among a geographically-diverse team, this project advances a robust, veteran-driven model of patient-centered care and patient engagement, recognizing the discrete healthcare needs of members of the armed forces.
This project is partially funded through a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award (3302-UCD).
FAU’s College of Nursing is internationally known for its commitment to nursing as a discipline focused on nurturing the wholeness of persons and the environment through Caring. The College advances Caring knowledge through education, practice, research and scholarship to transform care locally, nationally and globally. Currently, the College of Nursing offers bachelor’s, master’s, DNP and Ph.D. degree programs with approximately 1,600 nursing students enrolled in its programs. For more information, visit www.nursing.fau.edu.