VA participated in the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA) 2022 Midwinter Conference in Alexandria, Virginia, Feb. 20-23, 2022.

During the conference, VA Secretary Denis McDonough provided an update on VA priorities, and presented the Abraham Lincoln Pillars of Excellence Awards recognizing state Veteran programs focused on improving customer experience, eliminating Veteran homelessness, reducing claims and appeals backlogs, preventing Veteran suicides and creating innovative state programs.

John Boerstler, chief Veterans Experience Officer with VA’s Veterans Experience Office (VEO), highlighted several innovative VEO-led programs and projects.

One program that received positive interest among NASDVA members is the Veterans Experience Action Center (VEAC), which aims to increase Veteran access to and enrollment in VA health care, benefits and community services, especially in areas with lower rates of VA service utilization.

“These events work,” noted Nate Todd, Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) director. A successful April 2021 Arkansas VEAC left a lasting impression with ADVA staff and attendees. Read the full story here.

The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) partnered with VEO for its January 2022 VEAC. Dennis Wimer, IDVA director, believes all states should participate in the VEAC program, which is a “great help for Veterans to directly connect.”

Based on VEAC success and popularity, VEO plans to expand and scale the events nationwide and seeks to enhance training for event partners, streamline internal processes, and collect quantitative and qualitative data to better meet customer needs.

VEO is currently piloting VEAC events in California, Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Texas and Virginia.

To learn more about the VEAC program, email us at vet-friendlycommunities@va.gov.

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