“We can’t afford to lose 22 [Veterans] a day. We can’t just throw that around without taking action,” said Home Base’s Executive Director, Brigadier General (ret.) Jack Hammond, who was honored with an invitation to speak on a panel at the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative’s “Stand To – A National Veterans Convening” on Friday, June 23rd.
His was a sentiment echoed throughout the day in Washington, D.C., as key leaders from over 70 organizations spanning across the public, private, non-profit, and philanthropic sectors gathered in an effort to foster increased collaboration and coordination in the Veteran service space. With more than 45,000 philanthropic organizations, corporations, government programs and initiatives dedicated to helping Veterans, it is evident that there is a massive desire to improve the lives of those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. The goal of the “Stand-To” convening was to outline key priorities and an action plan to improve the lives of Veterans and their Families by reducing gaps in care.
“Stand-To” panels focused on the three key topics pertaining to Veterans and their Familes: health and wellbeing, education, and employment. Research has shown that intervention in these areas is integral to ensuring a Veteran’s successful transition to life after a deployment. Brigadier General (ret.) Jack Hammond was part of the Health and Wellbeing panel, which was moderated by Bill Rausch, Executive Director of “Got Your 6.” Brigadier General (ret.) Jack Hammond was joined by Harriet Dominique (Senior Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Community Affairs, USAA), Spencer Kympton (President, The Mission Continues), and Terri Tanielian (Senior Behavior Scientist, RAND Corporation).
Rausch began the conversation with an acknowledgement of the need to elevate health and well-being as a priority as our nation looks for ways to support the Veteran community. Brigadier General (ret.) Jack Hammond then went on to explain the role of clinical care – and Home Base specifically – in this process. “It takes a nation to build an army,” he said, “but it also takes a nation to welcome that army home.”
Programs like Home Base have set the conditions for success by first providing Veterans and their Families with the clinical mitigation that they need, and then connecting them to the community and peer support programs that can help them fully reconnect with their local communities. An “all-hands on deck” approach is imperative for long term success on this front, Hammond added. “No single program will solve this – what we see in Veterans who come through Home Base. They’re given the skills they need to succeed in life, and they are connected to something bigger. They have meaningful employment, they get back into college, they get connected with community-based programs. Programs like Home Base, Warrior Care Network, clinical providers – we set the condition for success. Then you have programs that connect folks to jobs and community-based peer programs; they guarantee that success for life.” The other panelists alluded to the need for a similar approach of restoring function in order to empower those who have served.
When challenged to identify the current gaps in Veteran care, Brigadier General (ret.) Hammond cited that, with such a wide breadth of resources, there is a need for a synchronization of efforts in order to help in a way that is both efficient and full of impact. He identified the Bush Institute’s establishment and subsequent launch of the Warrior Wellness Alliance in early 2017 as a purposeful step towards the implementation of a Veteran care network that is both innovative and easy to navigate.
Members of the Warrior Wellness Alliance are united in their belief that the Invisible Wounds of war can be overcome with effective care. By connecting peer-to-peer Veteran networks with best-in-class health providers, the Alliance can make a difference in the Veterans community. Home Base, through the umbrella of the Warrior Care Network, an innovative partnership between WWP, four top academic medical centers, and VA that offers intense outpatient programs for Veterans and their families, is a proud member of this Alliance.
As George W. Bush said in his opening remarks that same day, “our Veterans have already been given a PhD in life through their service. It is up to the 99% that did not serve to ensure that our Veterans and their Families have the opportunity to continue to contribute to our communities.”
There is much to be done, but the “Stand-To” convening offered an exciting glimpse of a future of increased collaboration and a shared goal of offering our Veterans and their Families a hand up – not a “hand out.” This vision of private and public sector groups synchronizing efforts and resources is something that no single entity can accomplish, but it is attainable through large collaborations such as the Warrior Wellness Alliance.
The “Stand-To” was an exciting opportunity for Home Base to be a part of the conversation surrounding Veteran care. To learn more about the “Stand-to” convening, please click here. You can also watch the full video of the Health and Well-being Panel below.