Social Justice for Vulnerable Populations: The Face of the Veteran
In its continuing efforts to examine and address social justice for vulnerable populations, the Duquesne University School of Nursing will present The Face of the Veteran at its 3rd annual Rita M. McGinley Symposium on Thursday, Oct. 25, and Friday, Oct. 26 in the Power Center Ballroom.
The United States is home to nearly 22.5 million veterans. With ages from late teens to 90 and older, these vets have served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and on peacekeeping and humanitarian missions around the world and in America.
"The root meaning of the word 'vulnerable' can be traced to a Latin word that means wounded-in that sense, veterans are the most vulnerable of all people," explains Sister Rosemary Donley, S.C., the Jacques Laval Endowed Chair in Justice for Vulnerable Populations, who organized the event. "Some of their wounds, such as amputations, are very visible; other wounds, like depression, minimal brain injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, are not."
Themes to be addressed at The Face of the Veteran include:
- Veterans with minimal brain damage and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
- The woman veteran
- The aging and chronically ill veteran
- The homeless veteran
- The families of veterans.
With fewer than one-third of American veterans receiving health care in Veterans Administration hospitals and clinics, private nonprofit and for-profit providers are serving vets in acute care settings, ambulatory clinics, homes and communities. This has made veterans' health care issues a primary concern to a wide range of professionals.
"In my experience, we forget about the soldiers, the veterans and the war when it winds down," says Sister Donley, pointing out that the Iraq/Afghanistan war has been the longest in history. "Many veterans will be coming home. Given the economy in many communities, finding a job will be more difficult. Then there is the period of adjustment for the veteran but also for his family. The nature of the war and the injuries are significant and will affect vets and their loved ones for the rest of their lives."
Among the speakers at The Face of the Veteran are:
- Dr. Catherine Rick, chief officer, Office of Nursing Services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Dr. Anna C Alt-White, director for research and academic programs, Office of Nursing Services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Dr. Lauren Matukaitis Broyles, research health scientist, Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
- JulieHera DeStefano, producer/director, feature-length documentary Journey to Normal: Women of War Come Home
- Dr. Rober Brooke, professor of psychology and director of military psychological services, Duquesne University.
The Face of the Veteran is open to the public, and is geared toward health professionals and those interested in the health and wellbeing of vulnerable populations. Continuing education credits will be available to physicians, nurses and social workers.