Friday, July 20
8:00am – 4:00pm
USC Davidson Conference Center
3501 South Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
U.S.VETS‘ 2nd Annual Female Veteran Stand Down will bring together over 95 service providers to offer free medical, mental health, dental, nutrition, housing services, employment workshops, legal services, financial counseling, and daycare to female veterans. If you have questions about the event, please contact La Trice McBride (United States Army, Women Career Counselor, WHVRP) at email@example.com.
Also, U.S. VETS need volunteers – over 500 female veterans and service providers will be in attendance, so help is needed. Fill out the Volunteer Registration Form to help on July 20! If you have questions about volunteering at this event, please contact Karen Weaver (Employment Specialist, WHVRP) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click on the links below for more information:
Eugene Durrah is a student in the USC School of Social Work’s Global Immersion course on Military Culture, Summer 2012. Eugene wrote the first Student Perspective piece for the course, and below he shares some final thoughts about what he has learned from his immersion experience:
On the final day of the course, the class traveled by bus to Heidelberg, a picturesque city in the German state of Baden-Württemberg and the site of Heidelberg University (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg), the oldest university in Germany (est. 1386).
There, students had the opportunity to tour the city and hike up the hill to the Heidelberg Castle for an eagle-eye view of the city and the Neckar River. First built around 1300 A.D., parts of the Heidelberg Castle have been demolished and re-built over the centuries, giving it an eclectic look, before being partially restored and opened for tourism. The castle includes the Apothecary Museum (Deutsches Apotheken-Museum), which traces the history and development of the modern-day pharmacy and displays medicinal laboratories that existed between the 17th and 19th centuries.
That evening, students and staff gathered at a local restaurant for a goodbye dinner before going their separate ways the following morning. After dinner, one student — Eugene Durrah — offered a final impression of what he has learned from his experience in the immersion course.
For more photos, please visit CIR’s Facebook Page!
Terrie Tilotta is a student in the USC School of Social Work’s Global Immersion course on Military Culture, Summer 2012. Below she writes about her observations regarding the significance of interdependence among servicemembers, as well as the issues surrounding a military social worker’s ‘dual role’:
While I have always believed that a client is more than his or her diagnosis, my immersion experience has really reinforced the idea that social work is about individualized care. I find it even more crucial to move away from labeling someone with a diagnosis and treating “out of a textbook” with the military populations; the textbooks just aren’t written with the complexity of many military scenarios in mind.
As I read through my journal last night, I realized that my first and last entries were almost identical in theme: brotherhood. The tour guide at the Luxembourg cemetery spoke of how the servicemen fought so bravely, not for their country or some ideological position, but for their fellow soldiers. The same exact sentiments were expressed at by the Sergeants at USAG Baumholder. The depth of loyalty toward interdependence on a tight knit group of fellow servicemen determines the course a soldier will take on the battlefield, not a radio message from some officer safely out of harm’s way.
Intellectually, it is easy to see how such bonds would develop, but as the majority of the civilian population, including myself, have never been in a situation where their life depended on someone else, it may be difficult to internalize on a gut level. Conversely, many servicemen may return home to find that relationships that were previously important to them now seem shallow and unfulfilling. Therefore, meeting the servicemember where he or she is at is crucial.
Also, while I did initially have some pause over the dual role issue for social workers in the military or treating active duty servicemembers, I came to realize that working in schools with adolescents, I am frequently placed in the position of deciding when my duty to warn trumps the student’s right to confidentiality. The stakes may not be as high for the students as for the soldiers, but many of the stigmas, trust issues, and social controls are similar to both populations, so I feel at least some familiarity with the decision-making process around my dual role.
Terrie Tilotta, Virtual Academic Center
Patricia Brick is a student in the USC School of Social Work’s Global Immersion course on Military Culture, Summer 2012. Below she writes about her experience visiting the U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) Baumholder:
At USAG Baumholder, we were told that we would see things as they really are, as opposed to the textbook version we might hear elsewhere – that other bases ‘dust the rocks’ when tours come through and portray a different environment. So far, we have been processed through rarely-visited locations, from hangers to donations closets, but today we went from rare to the raw, unabashed realities of two soldiers who gave us a glimpse into their multiple deployments to combat theaters. They shared their experience in a no-holds-barred fashion, including the reason that they fight – not for family or country, but for the soldier next to them, who is depending on them – as well as their requirements for engaging with mental health practitioners.
What they require is professionalism exhibited through respect, punctuality, congruity in word and action, listening skills, and an individualized treatment plan. Most of all, they require that their provider possess the professional competency to work with a military population. They emphasized that they have similar but distinctively different experiences and therefore do not tolerate the standard reassurance of “I know how you feel” from fellow soldiers, much less from mental health providers. Both men also expressed disdain for fellow soldiers who fake post-traumatic stress symptoms in order to acquire disability status, as it cheapens and diminishes their own experience and struggle.
Today was the capstone to an amazing set of exposures to the various facets of military social work. There is a plethora of venues and arenas, from birth in a neonatal ward to serving the geriatric military population, from pre-deployment to retirement – even to simply maintaining equilibrium on the homefront. There are no small issues, be it depression in military spouses or children, substance abuse, grief, or not adjusting to military life.
I have been vastly enriched by this course and the lessons that will continue to surface as the second year of classes shed additional light and insight into the content of this immersion. My experiences today re-confirmed the area of social work I wish to pursue and reminded me of the need to treat each client as an individual.
Patricia Brick, University Park Campus
Anthony Mihalo is a student in the USC School of Social Work’s Global Immersion course on Military Culture, Summer 2012. Below he writes about how the immersion course has changed his perspective of social work in the military:
Through my immersion experience, I have acquired a new perspective of social work within the military as well as social work in general. Before coming to Europe, I imagined that the majority of issues encountered by social workers on military installations overseas dealt with severe mental illness, substance abuse, and issues with the wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan. However, after the immersion experience, I came to realize that social workers deal with many other issues on these installations. I also came to realize the tension that exists between the military mission and the ethics of the social work profession in general.
During the briefings at Ramstein Air Base and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, I came to realize that the social workers on these installations deal with a diverse set of issues. These issues include child and adolescent behavioral health issues, domestic violence, and fatigue amongst staff. Furthermore, social workers ensure the availability of resources for military families. I came to realize that the mental health services deal with more relationship or adjustment issues than mental illnesses. Based on this, my perspective of military social work was broadened.
Overall, I came to realize that the military’s mission is often given precedence over the ethics of the social work profession. Within the civilian sector, the needs of the client are seen as the main priority of the therapeutic setting. However, within a military setting, the mission is given priority. Therefore, as a social worker within the military, a balance must be made between meeting the needs of the client and fulfilling the mission of the military. This was something that I had not contemplated before my immersion experience.
Anthony Mihalo, University Park Campus
The following day, the class traveled to the U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder, located in the hills of western Germany, not far from the borders of France and Luxembourg. There, students had the opportunity to observe Army medics from Bravo Company, 40th Engineer Battalion, as they practiced administering intravenous fluid drips (IVs) on one another, and to speak to the soldiers about their military experience and perceptions of behavioral healthcare providers.
Students then traveled to the Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) at Baumholder, a program which provides focused, continuous, and integrated care to soldiers who are injured and meet the medical criteria to be released from their unit and reassigned to a WTU. There, each soldier’s care is closely monitored and managed by behavioral healthcare and medical providers, until he/she is able to return to active duty or transitions from active duty.
Students heard from two soldiers who were transferred to the WTU for treatment of severe post-traumatic stress symptoms. Both men shared their personal experiences with combat and trauma, including the symptoms that made it difficult for them to sleep, function in daily life, perform their jobs, or interact with their families and friends. These soldiers also offered insight into what has helped them connect with certain behavioral healthcare workers or programs, and also shared behaviors and language that the students should avoid when treating a servicemember or veteran.
Due to base security regulations, no photos of the class visit to U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder are included here. However, Department of Defense photos have been included for reference. These photos include the DoD-provided caption and photographer credit information.
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