Cheri DiLego participated in our first VA Clinicians Training Camp this month. Cheri has participated in six Challenge Series rides with Project Hero, including Memorial Challenges, the 911 Challenge and the California Challenge, and graciously shared some notes with us about the positive experience she had at the Camp.
I did learn a lot!
I am a VA social worker from Huntington, West Virginia. Early this year, our local VA director approved a HUB for our VA medical center, and I participated in the HUB training. I was joined by other HUB team members Robert Thompson, Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT); Gwen Humphreys, LCSW – Mental Health; and Bent Stern, Rec Therapy).
Besides seeing my Project Hero friends in Richmond, the best part of the training was meeting with other VA employees and Dr. Harold Kulder, Acting Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health (ADUSH) for Patient Care Services (PCS). We all felt support and understanding from our leadership. We felt valued for the commitment and sacrifices we make for establishing Project Hero programs for our Veterans. Dr. Kulder sees the need for VA medical centers to move from hospital settings to wellness centers, and he feels this move will take a culture change. I fully agree.
Another positive was the discussion of mental health resources being overused. We discussed how Project Hero could address issues in a group setting, which would mean not having to attend weekly or bi-weekly mental health appointments. Providing services and access to more Vets in a timely, cost-effective manner would hopefully decrease emergency room and hospital admissions and increase overall wellness.
The networking with other employees and learning how to model a cycling program at VA medical centers was also important. The safety training on bicycles and the information about different options such as recumbents and hand cycles was useful.
I think we can do more by including more discussion about community involvement, suicide prevention and individual HUB goals. I look forward to those discussions.
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