RALEIGH, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, and the North Carolina Division of Veterans Affairs (NCDVA), concluded the first phase of the Veteran Support Specialist (VSS) Program consisting of an inaugural class of 10 Veteran Service Officers (VSOs) and Veteran Support Technicians (VSTs) from around the state Tuesday, June 30. The program created by Duke University’s Evidence Based Implementation Center (Duke EPIC), directly responds to the increasing needs and complexities for veterans surrounding access to mental healthcare services, and positions North Carolina as a leader in veteran advocacy. The partnership aligns with Governor Pat McCrory’s call to keep North Carolina as the most veteran-friendly state in the nation.
The first of its kind in North Carolina, the VSS Program is a grant-funded initiative offering VSOs comprehensive guidance and training to learn and sustain the most effective ways to serve those veterans who have served our country. This high-quality training, specifically developed for veterans, includes topics such as recovery, peer support, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), trauma informed care, conflict resolution, suicide prevention, and integrated health care.
VSOs & VSTs came from across the state to participate in the 40 hour, interactive training program to help prepare them in their critical role of assisting veterans of all eras as they make the transition from military life to civilian life. These officers leave the training with more tools and resources, even more capable to serve the veterans of North Carolina.
David Roddenberry, Program Manager for Duke EPIC, shared the opportunity for Cardinal Innovations to lead the training under the guidance of Allison Crotty, Director of Community Partners.
“Cardinal Innovations Healthcare is thrilled to be a part of this pilot that expands our commitment to providing information for veterans, their families and our partners who provide services to these individuals. Through educating Veteran Service Officers and Technicians we will impact all who work with military families, in both reducing the stigma and fear surrounding mental health and improving access to care,” said Crotty.
“We are seeking to develop timely and responsive training in support of NCDVA’s efforts to reshape the function of the VSO into a more holistic peer mentor role. The VSS training program will position VSOs to guide veterans through an often fragmented system of care. The desired end state of this program is we better equip VSOs & VSTs with specialized training in Veteran peer support, crisis management, and VA resource navigation to promote quality of life and well-being for veterans and their family members. We have been very fortunate to partner with Cardinal Innovations who has provided a wealth of peer support knowledge which is the base of this training.
"We are thrilled with the response from the participants. The members of the pilot class have been very quick to infuse new knowledge and skills into their everyday role and the feedback is that there is a definite need for this training,” said Roddenberry.
VSOs from the pilot class will play a pivotal role in shaping curriculum for future VSS training sessions. Once back in the field, VSOs & VSTs will implement their training firsthand and return to share their evaluation of successes and additional needs of the program. Duke EPIC leaders will incorporate these assessments to further develop the curriculum that will be used by all Veteran Support Specialists throughout North Carolina.
For more information, please contact Rachel Porter at Rachel.Porter@cardinalinnovations.org.
ABOUT NC DVA
The North Carolina Division of Veterans Affairs is a State agency that partners with the Counties to provide assistance and advocacy to veterans, their families and their dependents, in obtaining or maintaining privileges, rights and benefits to which they are entitled under federal, State or local laws.
For more information on available Veteran Resources call 844-NC4-VETS or visit www.nc4vets.com.
ABOUT CARDINAL INNOVATIONS
Cardinal Innovations Healthcare provides access to high-quality services through a comprehensive network of the best providers across the state. Cardinal Innovations is a community-focused organization with a history of sustained partnerships with consumers, local stakeholders and elected officials designed to create quality solutions for individuals who rely on the public system for care.
Cardinal Innovations Healthcare is headquartered in Kannapolis, N.C. and operates five Community Operations Centers throughout the state. Cardinal Innovations serves individuals in Alamance, Cabarrus, Caswell, Chatham, Davidson, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Mecklenburg, Orange, Person, Rowan, Stanly, Union, Vance and Warren counties.