Secretary Wilkie discussed the Trump Administration’s plan to prevent veteran suicide and outlined how the VA will implement the kinds of sweeping organizational changes needed to optimize new technologies and innovations and provide veterans with modern services.
SoldierStrong, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing revolutionary medical technologies to help injured Veterans lead full lives donating an Indego Therapy exoskeleton to VA Boston Healthcare System, West Roxbury Campus today.
The Therapy+ software suite, included with each Indego Therapy device, incorporates control algorithms based on proven motor learning principles and allows for an individualized, patient-centric training approach where the device responds to a patient’s active contribution and assists in gait only when necessary. Additionally, therapists have a range of customizable settings within the Therapy+ software suite which allows them to further tailor the behavior of the system to specific impairment and gait needs.
Dr. Marika Hess, Acting Chief, Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) noted that currently, VA Boston has an exoskeleton model in use. “The donation of this type of device allows us to have more device options for our Veterans who meet the medical clearance and FDA criteria to allow for robotic-assisted ambulation post spinal cord injury,” Hess said. “When a veteran takes his or her first steps, in some instances, the ability to ambulate in these devices can be life-changing.”
SoldierStrong co-founder Chris Meek said the state’s concentration of military personnel and veterans was a factor in the donation.
“There are more than 383,000 veterans in Massachusetts alone and almost one-fourth of them rely on some type of medical care from the VA, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The VA and its staff are dedicated to providing the best care to those veterans, but it’s important that groups like SoldierStrong stand with them to achieve that mission,” Meek said. “With advanced medical technology and expertise saving more and more servicemen and women who suffer severe injuries – especially on the battlefield – there’s an ever-growing need for exoskeletons and similar devices to make rehabilitation as effective as possible. We’re extremely proud to help as many veterans as we can so that they will experience the physical and emotional benefits of standing and walking again.”
A veteran, who had experienced a spinal injury, demonstrated his new-found ambulation abilities using the exoskeleton during the event.
Meek said the organization’s goal to help as many Veterans as possible was a significant factor in the local donation. Since SoldierStrong’s inception after 9/11, the Stamford, Conn.-based group has donated more than $3 million of medical devices to help injured veterans. Today’s donation is the organization’s 23rd exoskeleton donation and the second for VA Boston.
SoldierStrong has partnered with the 4th Annual Never Forget Tribute Classic on December 14th, with ticket proceeds going to support the men and women of the armed forces that sprung into action, protecting our freedom in the wake of 9/11. This neutral site, college basketball double-header brings some of the best teams to the Prudential Center each year. This year’s tournament features the Delaware Blue Hens vs Villanova Wildcats and the Mississippi State Bulldogs vs Kansas State Wildcats.
Delivering on its commitment to assist soldiers in taking an academic step into their future by filling in voids left by the Post-9/11 GI bill, the national nonprofit organization SoldierStrong announced the 2019 recipients of its scholarship initiative, SoldierScholar, today.
“SoldierStrong realized early on that education offers some of the best opportunities to members of the military once they return home from abroad,” said SoldierStrong co-founder Chris Meek. “SoldierStrong understands that there are, and always will be, more steps forward that need to be taken in making education more accessible for soldiers. It is an honor to support soldiers in such endeavors.”
The annual scholarships are available to veterans who fought in the recent War on Terror.
SoldierStrong, which also provides revolutionary medical technologies to help injured veterans lead full lives, launched SoldierScholar in 2012 and has awarded more than $500,000 since then. This year’s recipients include:
Philip DeTurck, Global Policy and Security, Georgetown University
Philip DeTurck graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy as a naval officer with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a minor in Chinese. DeTurck was selected as the first-ever student to work as an intelligence analyst for the Defense Attaché Office at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. DeTurck hopes to continue in a specialized study of global politics and security at Georgetown University.
Jessica Evans, Civil Engineering Technology, Old Dominion University
Jessica Evans served in the Army National Guard from 2009 to 2015 and served in Iraq in 2011 as a part of Operation New Dawn. Evans is working on a dual degree and is expected to graduate from Old Dominion University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering technology in 2020.
Daniel Cordial, Public Administration, Syracuse University
Daniel Cordial served in the U.S. Army from 2006-2011, earning the rank of sergeant. Cordial mobilized twice in Operation Iraqi Freedom and again in Operation New Dawn. He is currently enrolled in the Executive Master of Public Administration program at Syracuse University with a focus on international and national security policy and is expected to graduate in May 2020.
Edrena Roberts, Applied Intelligence, Georgetown University
Edrena Roberts has served in the U.S. Army for 16 years. Roberts has a bachelor’s degree in international relations and was accepted into Georgetown University’s Master of Professional Studies in Applied Intelligence. With her degree from Georgetown, Roberts hopes to someday work for the FBI as an analyst.
“Receiving a SoldierScholar scholarship gives me incredible peace of mind,” Roberts said. “This scholarship will help me accomplish my short-term goal of obtaining my graduate degree, help me continue to serve my country with the FBI and will offer me financial stability in the years to come. Education is critical to success and this scholarship helps me make my success a reality.”
SoldierStrong donated an Indego Therapy exoskeleton to VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System today.
Since SoldierStrong’s inception following the tragic events of 9/11, the Stamford, Conn.-based group has donated more than $3 million of medical devices to help injured veterans. Today’s donation is the organization’s 22nd exoskeleton donation, including the 18th one to the VA system.
Martin Kilbane, Supervisor of Rehabilitation Therapies Spinal Cord Injury/Disorders Center, noted that the system currently has a different exoskeleton model in use.
“The donation of this type of device allows us to have more device options for our Veterans who meet the medical clearance and FDA criteria to allow for robotic assisted ambulation post spinal cord injury,” Kilbane said. “When a patient takes his or her first steps. In some instances, the ability to ambulate in these devices can be life changing.”
SoldierStrong co-founder Chris Meek said the organization’s goal to help as many veterans as possible was a significant factor in the local donation.
“VA Northeast Ohio provides comprehensive, seamless health care for more than 112,000 veterans across its region, including too many who have experienced spinal injuries either in service to our country or another situation,” Meek said. “Our donations to other medical centers across the country have shown us that early rehabilitation therapy with an exoskeleton can make a lasting difference in the physical, mental and emotional recovery for patients,” Meek said. “We’re thrilled to help make that difference here, too.”
The Therapy+ software suite, included with each Indego Therapy device, incorporates control algorithms based on proven motor learning principles and allows for an individualized, patient-centric training approach where the device responds to a patient’s active contribution and assists in gait only when necessary. Additionally, therapists have a range of customizable settings within the Therapy+ software suite which allow them to further tailor the behavior of the system to specific impairment and gait needs.
“Our veterans deserve the very best medical care available, and we are incredibly proud to see SoldierStrong and the VA Northeast Ohio Health Care System adding Indego to the range of treatment options accessible to their patients,” Achilleas Dorotheou, head of the human motion and control business unit for Parker Hannifin, in a release from the company. “Combined with our Therapy+ software suite, Indego is becoming an integral tool for clinicians to provide individualized gait therapy sessions to stroke and spinal cord injury patients, and providing a new level of independence.”
A unique arrangement between Syracuse University, the Syracuse Veterans Affairs Medical Center and two national nonprofits has resulted in the donation today of a groundbreaking virtual reality system to treat veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress.
The donation was made during an event took place at the VA’s Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic, 620 Erie Blvd West. It comes from SoldierStrong, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing advanced medical technologies to help injured veterans lead full lives. Its StrongMind initiative has made an initial commitment to donate virtual reality hardware and software to 10 VA medical centers across the country as part of its focus on reducing post-traumatic stress, which is considered one of the leading causes of veteran suicides. The Syracuse donation is the first in the series.
Operation Hat Trick is funding the donation to the Syracuse VA. The Veterans Health Administration’s Innovative Ecosystem will assist in the facilitation and deployment of the equipment, and coordinate training efforts for the equipment and software.
“The VA always strives to incorporate technology in meaningful ways that improve patient care and help to reduce symptoms of PTSD. This equipment presents an exciting opportunity to engage Veterans with PTSD who may prefer to incorporate more technology into their treatment which will complement the offering of Evidence Based Treatments currently offered in the PTSD Clinic,” said Lauren Love, Syracuse VA Medical Center Behavioral Health Careline Manager. “September is Suicide Prevention Month and this venture also provides a timely opportunity to incorporate creative new treatments aimed at reducing Veteran suicide. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with SoldierStrong and thank Syracuse University and Operation Hat Trick for their extraordinary generosity.”
Mike Haynie, Vice Chancellor and Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) Founder & Executive Director, noted the university’s involvement reflects its long-standing support for the nation’s military veterans.
“Syracuse University works closely with the Syracuse VA and many other veteran-serving organizations, to ensure that our veterans get the assistance they need and the care they deserve,” Haynie said. “This donation is another prime example of the power of partnership and connection among all veteran service organizations to achieve a greater good. For that reason, we are proud to support SoldierStrong and Operation Hat Trick’s efforts to make this creative technology an integral part in the treatment and recovery of veterans here in central New York and across the country.”
Rachel Duffy, Syracuse University’s director of trademark licensing, said the relationship with Operation Hat Trick dates back to 2013 and has helped the Hampton, N.H., organization fulfill its mission of generating awareness and support for the recovery of wounded service members and veterans through the sale of OHT branded merchandise and products.
“We’ve been honored to help Operation Hat Trick serve so many veterans through our co-branding agreement, but it’s an exceptional thing to see it result in a donation to the local Syracuse community,” Duffy said. “It’s a moment that should make the university’s many supporters very proud.”
Operation Hat Trick founder and president Dot Sheehan noted that 22 military veterans commit suicide each day across the country.
“One of OHT’s goals is to work with organizations that creatively work toward solving the issue of veteran suicides. SoldierStrong/StrongMind is one of those organizations and we are proud to be involved,” Sheehan said. “We are especially excited to be associated with the Syracuse VA and Syracuse University where their commitment to OHT merchandise and product helps a purchase with a purpose become reality.”
Since SoldierStrong’s inception following the tragic events of 9/11, the Stamford, Conn.-based group has donated more than $3 million of medical devices to help injured veterans, including 22 state-of-the-art exoskeleton that aid in the rehabilitation of spinal injuries.
“Virtual reality treatment shows promise in two key areas,” said SoldierStrong co-founder Chris Meek. “It is both clinically effective and it reduces the stigma that many service members feel about seeking treatment for their post-traumatic stress. With the rise in popularity of virtual reality in non-medical settings, such as video games, entertainment and even the workplace, there’s convincing evidence that younger veterans will be more inclined to seek treatment using VR techniques than other methods.”