Help for Vets Who Suffered Complications from Testosterone Medications

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It seems like Americans can’t watch a program, let alone a sporting event on television, without seeing advertisements about low testosterone, or products designed to treat those who “suffer from Low-T.” Like any other ad, these commercials were created to entice consumers to buy products. And along with beer, soft drinks, cars and athletic apparel, Americans are buying their “Low T” medicine like they were picking up a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk.

Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in males. It is a major component in the development of male reproductive features, including the testes and prostate. Testosterone is produced in males mainly by the testicles, and functions to promote characteristically male attributes within humans. These attributes include increased body hair, thicker bone density, increased muscle mass and male sexual function. Testosterone levels are also linked to overall health and wellness.

Testosterone levels decrease naturally with age. But there are medical conditions, such as hypogonadism, that can lower a man’s testosterone level. Symptoms of low testosterone include erectile dysfunction, fatigue, decreased libido, decreased strength, loss of body hair, decreased bone density, and depression.

Pharmaceutical companies refer to lower than average testosterone levels as “Low T.”  They bombard the airways with commercials designed to “educate” men about “Low T,” and what prescriptions are available for use for those who “suffer from Low T.” In 2012, the makers of testosterone treatment products spent an estimated $107 million to market their drugs. Over the last thirteen years, the number of men over 40 being treated for low testosterone has tripled. It has been estimated that approximately 5.3 million prescriptions for testosterone medications were written in 2011 alone.

Treatments come in the form of testosterone injections, patches and topical creams, gels, and even one that rolls on your underarm, just like deodorant. The pharmaceutical companies try to make it as simple and painless as possible to use. Because of the number of commercials about these medications, patients with one or more symptoms will approach their doctor, often asking for the medicines by brand name. Many doctors prescribed testosterone medications to patients, even if they weren’t diagnosed with a medical condition that causes hypogonadism.

But there is a negative effect to taking low testosterone medications that the drug companies, and many physicians, are not relaying to patients. On January 31, 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Drug Safety Communication on FDA-approved testosterone products.

It appears that incidents of heart attack, stroke and death have been linked to the use of testosterone medications. In a 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, use of testosterone medications among a group of 1223 Veterans was associated with increased risk of death, myocardial infarction (heart attack), or ischemic stroke. Among the Veterans receiving testosterone therapy, 23 had heart attacks, 33 had strokes, and 67 died. In total, there was a 29% increased risk of these adverse events among the testosterone therapy group.

The law firm of Girard Gibbs LLP is currently investigating claims on behalf of prescription testosterone users, many of them Veterans, who claim that the hormone replacement therapy may be linked to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, or other serious cardiovascular events.

Users of testosterone drugs who have experienced serious cardiovascular events are encouraged to contact Girard Gibbs’ testosterone lawyers to learn more about the investigation and explore their potential claims for monetary compensation.

Click Here or call (866) 981-4800 for a free confidential consultation concerning your possible testosterone treatment lawsuit.

Disclaimer:  Dylan Hughes is responsible for this attorney advertisement. This ad is not intended for the residents of KY or FL.

CALVET 2014 Veterans Resource Book

veteran_resource_book_2014 If you have been using a CA Veteran Resource book that is a year or more old, you will see great improvements in the 2014 version. The new and improved book is much more user friendly, and is divided into chapters, each dealing with a specific topic of interest to Veterans. Hopefully, this new system will make it easier to navigate. Additionally, you can visit the CalVet website at www.calvet.ca.gov for assistance.

 

Click here to View or Download the 2014 Veterans Resource Book.

SVA’s Million Records Project Finds Veteran Students are Graduating

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By Debbie Gregory.

On March 24, 2014, the Student Veterans of America (SVA) released the first wave of their findings from the Million Records Project. The project is an SVA initiative designed to gain a better understanding of Veteran and other non-traditional college students. Approximately 1 million college records were reviewed for the study. The initial findings of the Million Records Project is in direct opposition to the popular belief that Veteran students struggle or drop out of school.

The study found that 51.7% of Veterans who used their education benefits have received at least some form of post-secondary degree, certification or completion rate. While this statistic is still below the successful completion rate of 59% for traditional students, this is a far cry from the popular, but unsubstantiated, claim that only one in three Veterans successfully capitalize on their education benefits. These numbers do not include the Veteran students who are currently in the process of completing their academic programs.

For this stage of the Million Records Project, SVA partnered with the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) and the VA. These three entities collaborated to review data from a sample of approximately one million Veteran education benefits records, spanning from 2002 to 2010, as well as student post-secondary enrollment and completion records collected by the NSC. After removing currently enrolled Veteran students and duplicates from Veterans enrolled in more than one program or at more than one school, a total of 788,915 records were analyzed. This figure represents roughly 22% of the Veteran student population during that period.

The SVA’s research is the first comprehensive research about how Iraq and Afghanistan-era Veterans are performing in college. This generation of Veterans are the recipients of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, in which the government has invested nearly $34 billion. While critics will say that the results could have been better, the numbers are promising.

The Million Record Project was funded by an estimated $2.2 million in grants, awarded to the SVA by Google, Raytheon, Lumina Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation.

The project also found that the most popular areas of study for Veteran students were business, computer and information sciences, social sciences, homeland security, and law enforcement/firefighting.

The results also showed that while Veteran students may take longer to complete their academic programs (four to six years for a bachelor’s degree), they also showed that Veterans who are successful in their academics statistically continued their education, taking it to the next level, including 20.8% of Veterans who completed their bachelor’s degrees and went on to a higher degree program.

Veteran students should be encouraged by the improved number. But they should also consider the disappointment with the 51.7%, taking this as a challenge to raise the bar.

ATTN: Kentucky Veterans: LG&E and KU Want to Hire YOU!

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By Debbie Gregory.

This year, thousands of Veterans are looking for new careers. Many of these Veterans are also recent college graduates, or are soon to be grads, courtesy of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The ability to find employment that is both satisfying and sustainable has become an issue for Veterans throughout the country. A major complaint among Veterans is that they don’t know where to find employers that will hire them into career jobs. Well, there is good news for Veterans in and around Louisville, Kentucky.

Louisville Gas and Electric Co. (LG&E) and Kentucky Utilities Co. (KU), Kentucky’s largest energy provider, is in the midst of launching a hiring campaign. The hiring managers at LG&E and KU have expressed their desire to hire qualified Veterans who apply.

The utility provider already employs more than 300 reservists and Veterans as part of their work force. And LG&E/ KU is so impressed with the work ethic displayed via a “mission accomplishment” attitude that they want to add more military and Veterans to their force.

The company sets standards for their employees similar to the values maintained by the U.S. military. LG&E/ KU holds their people to a practice of “No Compromise” when it comes to safety. As a result of their safety practices, they have one of the best safety records in the country, spanning all industries. LG&E/ KU believes that hiring current and former military personnel contributes to their standards, as military men and women did not compromise safety as part of their experience with performing their duties.

LG&E and KU provide electricity across the state of Kentucky and sections of Virginia. Part of their service is the commitment to round the clock dependability to repair and restore power to their communities, regardless of weather conditions. Who better than the men and women who have extensive experience with working with a sense of purpose and duty?

Available positions include industrial electricians, field technicians, trade and craft positions, engineers, administrative workers, and customer services representatives.

LG&E and KU have been recognized as one of Kentucky’s leading employers for employees ability to balance work and family life. They see employees as the company’s most vital resource. It is for that reason that they offer a competitive benefits package that includes tuition assistance, professional development opportunities and a veterans’ resource group; along with medical, dental and vision; a 401(k) plan; life insurance; flexible schedules; paid holidays; sick days, personal days and vacation days; paid jury duty and paid military leave.

Also located in Kentucky is “Veteran School Salute” awardee Sullivan University System. Sullivan University System has maintained an academic partnership with the military for more than 30 years, when the leadership at nearby Ft. Knox requested the university train Army cooks in the culinary arts. Today, that academic partnership extends beyond the realm of active duty service members. More than 10% of Sullivan’s 7,000 students are either active duty military, Reservists, Veterans, or military dependents. Sullivan focuses on helping its Veteran students transition into campus life, and ultimately into the ranks of civilian employment.

VA Website Offers New PTSD Program Locator

VA website

By Debbie Gregory.

A common reason that Veterans use for not seeking the help they need is that they don’t know where to go to get that help. A steady string of campaigns designed to modernize the VA is making that excuse as obsolete as a rotary phone.

During the last few years, the VA has implemented many new additions to its website www.va.gov. Previously, Veterans had to rely on large, hard to navigate booklets or word of mouth advice to learn about their Veterans benefits. If they sought support via the telephone or in person at the VA, Veterans would spend hours on the phone or waiting in person to talk to VA representatives. Now that the VA has entered the Information Age, a wealth of benefits information and resources are just a click away.

One of the latest additions to the site is the VA’s PTSD Program Locator. You can follow the link provided, or navigate to it from the VA’s home page by hovering over the “Locations” tab, and clicking on “Hospitals and Clinics.” From that page, on the left of the screen, you can select from a list of VA resources that include the “PTSD Program Locator.”

The locator page offers Veterans and other users of the site an interactive map of the U.S., state by state. Users just click on their state and they will be prompted to a list of facilities in their state that offer the services they need. It will be up to the user to determine which of the listed VA centers is most convenient for them. Veterans should know that all VA centers and facilities offer PTSD treatment, and many other offerings too, even if they are not listed for that particular site.

Veterans needs to familiarize themselves with the VA’s website and its resources. The days of not taking advantage of your Veterans benefits due to lack of information are over. Veterans have earned their benefits through military service, and need to be aware of what they are and how to make utilize them. Veterans are encourage to take a few minutes to browse the VA’s website at www.va.gov and see what the VA can do for you.

Navy CDR John Regelbrugge Mourned by Sailors

CDR John Ruggelbrugge

By Military Connection Staff Writer Joe Silva.

Anyone who has ever put on a uniform, regardless as to which one, has had that one role model. That one person who epitomizes the uniform, and all it represents. For the thousands of sailors who served with John Regelbrugge, he was the Navy; and everyone aspired to be as hard-core as John was.

His voice was strained and gravely, the result of barking orders in the salty sea air for over thirty years. He had the trim build of the ideal military man, and he possessed the type of confidence that only comes from being the best at what you do.

John climbed the ladder in the Navy twice. He enlisted as a Seaman Apprentice (E-2) in 1982, and rose to the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer (E-8). Then he was commissioned as a Limited Duty Officer (LDO). He went from Ensign (O-1) to Commander (0-5). Reaching either height in rank is a lifetime achievement for many service members. John accomplished both. Earlier this month, he was named Officer in Charge for the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility Detachment in Everett, Wash.

I served with John Regelbrugge on the USS Ogden (LPD-5). He was the ship’s 1st LT (Navy position, not rank). He was larger than life. He had an answer to every question, a story for every port, and a joke for every occasion. I will always remember John leading his men in some of the most tasking, most dangerous seamanship evolutions in the modern Navy. I will also remember standing watch with him in my work center. On quiet nights, while watching my radar screen, I would hear the toughest man on the ship singing peacefully to himself, in his officer’s chair. I will always remember CDR Regelbrugge as the first person to correct you if you were wrong, the first person to take the time to teach you how to do something right, the first the first person to pat you on the back when the work was through, and the first person to crack a funny joke… usually at your expense.

On Saturday, March 22, 2014, CDR Regelbrugge was at his home on Steelhead Drive in Oso Washington, when a catastrophic mudslide overcame his neighborhood. He and his wife Kris were home. For days the two were among the dozens missing and unaccounted for.

John’s Facebook page was filled with hundreds of prayers and well-wishes from his shipmates, family and friends. The majority of the posts, including posts by his children, were so confident that this tough-as nails sailor would find a way to climb out of the mud and muck with Kris, and probably a few neighbors along with him. But the earth claimed what the sea couldn’t tame.

On the morning of March 25th , John’s two brothers and two of his sons found him, dead, in an area that had previously been flooded over. The Regelbrugge home had been completely destroyed, and John’s wife, Kris, was still missing. On March 26th, Kris’ body was found.

The U.S. Navy has lost one of its great leaders. John and Kris are survived by their five children. In addition to their two daughters, two of their sons are currently serving in the Navy, and another son is a Veteran of the U.S. Army.  Our sincerest condolences to the Regelbrugge family.

Fair winds and following seas, shipmate. You will be missed.

Stanford Offers Free Summer Program for Veteran Students

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By Debbie Gregory.

Veteran students who are using their education benefits to earn degrees often voice ways to improve the system. After all, who better to make recommendations than Veterans themselves, who see firsthand where confusions and obstacles lie within Veteran education? The best educational institutions for Veterans are the ones that listen to Veterans, and put their feedback to use. Stanford University is doing just that. Based on an idea by one of their Veteran alums, William Treseder, Stanford University’s summer session will be launching a new program, Stanford 2 to 4: A Veteran’s Accelerator.

This eight week scholarship program is designed to aid Veteran students’ transition from a two year college to a four year university. The program will run from June 21st  to August 17th. Stanford 2 to 4 will provide Veterans who have already completed one to two years of college with an assortment of tools and resource to succeed on the next leg of their paths to success.

Through Stanford 2 to 4, Veteran students will enroll in two tuition-free classes at Stanford University’s summer session. All participants will enroll in a writing/rhetoric workshop. This class will help prepare Veteran students for writing assignments at a four-year university, and assist students in their development of critical reading, writing and research skills, useful for any area of study. Each participant will be able to choose an additional academic class, with the help of an academic advisor. Upon completion of these two classes, participating Veterans will receive credits from Stanford University that can be used towards their degrees.

A maximum of 20 Veterans will be selected to participate in Stanford 2 to 4: A Veteran’s Accelerator. Along with the classes, the program will also provide Veteran students with a wealth of information. Stanford’s summer session staff will be providing academic advising, benefits information and informational seminars with current Stanford Veteran students– who can tell their comrades what to expect from educational programs at the university level.

“This program is designed to build on your military experience and prepare you for an elite education,” said Jess Matthews, Associate Dean and Director at Stanford University.

The program is all inclusive. Veteran students accepted in the program will participate at no cost to them. Stanford University summer session will provide for tuition fees, private bedroom accommodations in a shared suite on campus, fourteen meals per week, and a $400 book stipend.

Again, only 20 Veteran students will be selected for the program. In order to be considered for admission, please complete the application before Monday, March 31, 2014 at 1700 PDT.

For more information, please visit summer.stanford.edu/veterans/ or email Associate Dean and Director Jess Matthews at jess.matthews@stanford.edu.

Jess Matthews
Associate Dean and Director of Summer Session

Stanford University
Stanford Summer Session
365 Lasuen Street
Littlefield Center, Garden Level
Stanford, CA 94305-6079
Email:  jess.matthews@stanford.edu
Web:    summer.stanford.edu
Tel:       650.725.4014
Fax:      650.725.6080

Give an Hour to Host “A Celebration of Service”

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Since 2005, Give an Hour has helped provide thousands of service members, Veterans, and their family members with mental health benefits. With a network of more than 6,700 mental health care professionals, social workers, therapists, and counselors, Give an Hour provides much needed care and comfort to those affected by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The 501(c) (3) non-profit offers no cost treatment for substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, anxiety, depression, sexual health and intimacy concerns, as well as assistance coping with loss and grieving.

The mental health care professionals of Give an Hour’s network donate an hour of their time to care for those in need from the military community. Instead of paying for treatment, the recipient pays it forward by giving an hour of their time to an approved charity within their local community. Give an Hour provides a crucial service to members of the military. The organization’s founder, Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, has been named as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2012.

On April 6th-8th, Give an Hour will be hosting three day of events in Washington D.C. called “A Celebration of Service”. During the event, Give an Hour will be honoring three individuals with their “Commitment to Service” award. This year, Give an hour is presenting the awards to Senator Richard Burr, Senator Debbie Stabenow and USMC Veteran Brendan O’Toole, who completed a 3,600 mile run to benefit Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Military Connection CEO Debbie Gregory was a 2013 honoree, proudly accepting the Civilian Commitment to Service award for her unwavering support of military members and their families.

A Celebration of Service will kick-off on April 6th with a community service project. From noon until 4 pm, Give an Hour will bring 100 volunteers to improve facilities at Veterans on the Rise, Inc., an organization that provides services to homeless Veterans.

On April 7th from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Give an Hour will host a conference intended to educate the next generation of mental health professionals on how to best serve the military and Veteran communities. The conference will be live-streamed to universities across the country.

On Tuesday, April 8th, Give an Hour will be hosting a reception from 5:30 p.m. to 11p.m. The evening will include the presentation of the “Commitment to Service” awards and a performance of the Pulitzer Prize winning play, Water by the Spoonful.

For more information, to register or buy tickets for any of the events, please visit A Celebration of Service.

Fair Access to Benefits for Student Veterans Act

Fair Access to Benefits for Student Veterans Act

By Debbie Gregory.

Lawmakers from California and Nevada introduced the Fair Access to Benefits for Student Veterans Act.  If approved, this legislation will make it easier for Veteran students to access their benefits when they need them the most.

Since 2009, more than 1 million Veteran students have used the Post-9/11 GI Bill. During that time, Veterans, the VA and law makers have been able to create a learning curve for the program, correcting deficiencies with the program along the way. This process is on-going. As more Veterans use the program, and more schools and agencies become familiar with the process, increased opportunities to improve the benefit present themselves.

Currently, Veteran students apply for enrollment at their desired college or university, and once approved, they complete their enrollment for their education benefits with the VA. Once approved, and once their semester begins, the Veteran will then start to receive their monthly payments and stipend for books and supplies. But this can take several weeks. Between each term break of more than 30 days, the payments stop and start up again, once the next semester begins. This can also take up to a month before  Veteran students get their benefits.

However, before each semester begins, there are expenditures that Veteran students are responsible for. Most professors contact their students with the required reading and text books for classes prior to the beginning of the term. Some professors even ask that some reading be done before the first class meeting. Waiting for VA benefits to buy books can be detrimental to a Veteran student’s grade, and they might not be able to afford the book without VA money.

Parking fees can be over $160 per term at some schools. And students need to purchase permits prior to the first day of the term. Waiting weeks for their first payment can put Veteran students, who often have families, in a financial bind.

Under the current law governing Veteran education benefits, this advanced payment comes in lieu of the payment for the following month.  While filling the need at the moment, this can potentially leave Veterans in a bind when they should be receiving their regular payment.

The Fair Access to Benefits for Student Veterans would change the process so that advance payments granted to Veteran students will be charged against the final month of education assistance payments that the Veteran is eligible for. This minor alteration will allow Veterans to access their education assistance and not put themselves in a financial bind– as the benefits are intended to do.

Transition GPS Is Not Your Dad’s TAP Class

Transition GPS

By Debbie Gregory.

For years, service members who were separating from the military participated in the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The mandated program took two or three days, and explained Veteran benefits and information that was deemed useful for transitioning Veterans. Many service members and Veterans claimed that the program was incomplete, insufficient, or a waste of their time. Many Veterans felt that they separated from the military with little information about their benefits and how to claim them. Veterans and Veteran advocacy groups have blamed deficiencies with the military’s transition assistance policies for high Veteran unemployment (averaging over 9% for GWOT Vets) and suicide rates (21+ per day). Law makers heard the complaints and called for improving the Transition Assistance Program as part of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011.

Congress demanded improvements, which led to the redesigned TAP, called Transition Goals, Plans, Success (GPS).  Transition GPS is more than just a Family Assistance Center or Fleet and Family Support Center representative talking to service members. Transition GPS was designed as a partnership between the DOD, the VA, the Departments of Labor and Education, as well as the Office of Personnel Management and the Small Business Administration. All of these entities collaborated to create a core 40 hour comprehensive workshop for service members imminently separating from the military.

Transition GPS curriculum includes three phases; the first phase is a mandatory two days of training on VA benefits, personal finances, family adjustment and mentorship. The second phase is a mandatory three days of training for their new careers. This training includes Department of Labor employment workshops, instruction in employment searches, resume writing, job interviews and how to use social media to benefit employment searches. The third phase is a voluntary two days of instruction with options to focus on either preparing for 1) college: relays information about the GI Bill, applying for financial aid and how to approach campus and classroom life. 2) career: provides information on technical training and how to acquire civilian professional certifications and licenses. 3) entrepreneurship: relays information from the SBA to service members who wish to start their own businesses.

The program officially began in November, 2012, when the pilot group of transitioning service members took the first courses a year prior to separation. So far, the program is receiving high marks. It is succeeding in engaging the service members, focusing on matters that are pertinent to them and their needs. But just like with the old TAP class, Veterans will get out of the program what they put into it while they were still serving. Service members are advised to take full advantage of Transition GPS. The program does have the potential to remove the negative statistics in the Veteran community.