Military Connection: New Healthcare Idea for Vets: By Debbie Gregory

UAB and Joining Forces

By Debbie Gregory

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has recently allied with Joining Forces to implement the Have You Ever Served in the Military?” campaign at UAB.

“Have You Ever Served in the Military?” is an awareness campaign that was designed by the American Academy of Nursing in an effort to improve health care for Veterans. The campaign encourages healthcare providers to ask their patients about their military background in an attempt to identify possible health factors or illnesses related to military service. This includes exposures, ailments, injuries and concerns that are unique to military Veterans.

The “Have You Ever Served in the Military?” campaign was implemented to directly ally with the  Joining Forces initiative. Joining Forces is a national initiative, spearheaded by Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, that aims to engage all divisions of society to provide our nation’s service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.

The data collected should provide more specific resources for Veterans.  Additionally,  the program is expected to facilitate future opportunities for collaboration between UAB Medicine and the Birmingham VA Medical Center.

UAB Hospital staff will obtain a military health history if a patient affirms he or she is current or former military. The “Have You Ever Served in the Military?” campaign is being implemented at UAB Hospital by Cheri Plasters, a University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing graduate who works in  the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at UAB hospital.

“By recognizing our servicemen and women, we can improve their quality of life and overall health outcomes,” Plasters said. “That is why this initiative is so important. A military health history is at the core of planning the care of veterans.”

UAB’s School of Medicine and its School of Nursing both offer programs to educate healthcare providers about the importance of military health history, and how to use it. The aim of the “Have You Ever Served in the Military?” campaign is for all healthcare providers to use military health history to help strategize care.

A presentation for the Region 6 American Association of Critical Care Nurses conference in Atlanta is scheduled this September.

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Military Connection: New Healthcare Idea for Vets: By Debbie Gregory