VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System (VCB) hosted the first ever Veterans Whole Health Summit & Benefits Fair on June 8, 2019.
More than 250 people attended the event, which was promoted to help eligible Veterans and their family members better understand how comprehensive, integrated, whole-health services can contribute to the development of self-empowering, self-healing and self-care behaviors.
“We hope this event gets people excited about the life changing health practices that are becoming available to them through the implementation of Whole Health services,” said Dr. John Miller, a VA psychologist who serves as the Health Behavior Coordinator for VCB.
Dr. Pamela Smith, a VA psychologist,leads a session of yoga during the Veterans Whole Health Summit and Benefits Fair hosted by VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System (VCB) on June 8, 2019, at the VA Health Care Center at Harlingen, Texas. (VA photo by Luis H. Loza Gutierrez)
According to the VA’s official Whole Health for Life website, healthcare providers have traditionally focused on what’s the matter with patients, zeroing in on their diseases and ailments; however, the VA is working on shifting the focus by instead starting a conversation about what matters most to Veterans.
“It is about getting to know you, putting you–rather than the disease–at the center of your health and your health care,” said Karla Cauldwell, who runs VCB’s Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Program.
The event provided guests with an opportunity to learn about pain management and some of the benefits associated with practicing or receiving tai chi, acupuncture, and chiropractic care, which VA began offering locally in April 2018. Yoga, meditation and guided imagery demonstration classes were also offered.
Raffle prizes were given away for those that registered and completed their stamp cards after visiting each of the nearly two dozen organizations that participated in the benefits fair. Private, non-profit organizations such as Family Endeavors, and the Veterans Association at South Texas College were represented at the fair along with Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) such as the Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) and the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC).
An assortment of healthy food and treats such a turkey ham wheat wraps, salads and fresh fruit were prepared and served by VA volunteers and members of H.E.B., while a local band played a variety of songs outdoors on stage provided by the city of Harlingen.
To view some of the more the 175 photos of the event on VCB’s Facebook photo album, click here,
(Mentioning of any private organizations or individuals strictly for news and information purposes only. No U.S. federal endorsement intended or implied.)
Author’s note: In a message to VA employees in September 2018, Secretary Robert Wilkie stated that Business Transformation “is also about more robust partnerships with state and local communities to address challenges like Veteran homelessness and suicide prevention.” June is PTSD Awareness Month. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has frequently been linked as a contributing factor to suicides and suicide attempts among service members and Veterans. Events like the first ever Veterans Health Summit & Benefits Fair directly supports of the VA’s fourth top priority of transforming its business systems, which as previously stated addresses challenges such as Veteran homelessness and suicide prevention.