Guest Blogger: Chad Waltz, Tillman Military Scholar Class 4, Arizona State University
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the 2012 Arizona Coalition for Military Families Veteran Symposium in Phoenix. The two-day event featured approximately 200 Arizona Army/Air National Guard members, veterans and government agencies, as well as various service providers such as TriWest, Magellan Behavioral Health, EMPACT, TERROS Behavorial Health, Rehabilitation Services Administration, Arizona Governor’s Council on Spinal and Head Injuries, the Arizona Department of Health Services and others.
Day one (June 13) began with the posting of the colors and singing of the National Anthem. The guest speaker was Colonel (retired) Joey Strickland from the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services. The guest speakers eloquently set the stage for the reason why all of the participants were assembled, to advance and advocate for our service members and their families.
After a great lunch, I attended the following breakout sessions that Wednesday:
- Trauma-Informed Care with Nitika Singh, Arizona Department of Health Services
- Evidence-Based Practices for the Treatment of PTSD with Karen Kattar, PhD, Phoenix VA
- Threat Assessment in the Military Service Member with Nicki Bartram, Arizona National Guard Bureau
On day two (June 14), I attended the following breakout sessions:
- Veterans Courts, Moderator: SSG (retired) Patrick Ziegert, Office of Attorney General
- Suicide Prevention with David Klein, Phoenix VA, and Nicki Bartram, National Guard Bureau
KNXV-TV 15 news came out to produce a story on the two-day symposium and the military experience display, which featured weapon systems and equipment for persons not familiar with equipment used by servicemembers on deployment. They had an F-16 simulator in front of the conference center and mobile RVs from Scottsdale Health Care and the Vet Center.
This symposium was a tremendous networking opportunity and gave me the chance to learn the newest trends associated with military mental health. I am looking forward to future partnerships with several of the service providers, including the Office of Attorney General to train law enforcement (or develop a curriculum state-wide) for first responders dealing with servicemembers and veterans. I was honored to represent the Pat Tillman Foundation and continue future efforts at advocacy to champion this population!