VA Chiropractic Residency Sites First in Nation to Receive Accreditation

October 27, 2016

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) chiropractic residency programs have reached a historic first by receiving accreditation from the Council of Chiropractic Education.  These are the first residency programs in the nation ever to be awarded this distinction, a significant advancement in the evolution of chiropractic education.

In 2014, VA launched its chiropractic residency program as a three-year pilot project at five VA facilities located in West Haven, Conn.; Buffalo NY; Canandaigua, NY; St. Louis, Mo. and Los Angeles, Calif.  The programs provide postgraduate clinical training in integrated chiropractic practice, focused on team-based care and inter-professional education.

“Along with serving our Nation’s Veterans, providing innovative training opportunities for health care professionals is a key component of VA’s Mission,” said Dr. Karen Sanders, Deputy Chief Officer, VA Office of Academic Affiliations. “The accreditation of our chiropractic residency programs demonstrates VA’s commitment to  preparing providers who will serve Veterans and the Nation.”

As part of the program, residents provide clinical care mentored by senior VA chiropractors, participate in clinical rotations in relevant specialties such as rehabilitation, primary care, and pain medicine, and participate in inter-professional scholarly activities.  This advanced training gives chiropractic residents vital experience and the competencies needed to serve patients in VA facilities, other integrated healthcare settings, and/or academia.

For more information about the VA chiropractic residency program, visit

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Begins Youth Scholarship Competition

October 19, 2016

The Veterans of Foreign Wars has begun this year’s scholarship competition. Local middle school and high school students have the opportunity to compete for thousands of dollars in scholarships and a trip to Washington, D.C.

The first competition is Voice of Democracy (VOD), where a student must write and record a three-to-five minute essay on the selected theme using an audio CD or flash drive and present their recording, typed essay and completed entry form to the local VFW Post/Auxiliary by Nov. 1. This competition is for grades nine through twelve and was created to provide students the opportunity to express themselves in regard to democratic ideas and principles. The theme for this year’s VOD essay is “My Responsibility to America.” 

Local first place winners advance to the district level with the winner advancing to the state level. The state first-place winner will receive a four-day trip to Washington, D.C., and a chance to compete for more than $150,000 in scholarships. The national first place winner receives a $30,000 college scholarship.

The second scholarship for grades six through eight. The Patriot’s Pen” (PP) essay is to encourage young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experience in modern American society by composing a 300- 400-word patriotic-themed essay. The theme is “The America I Believe In.” The deadline for the PP competition is Nov. l.

The local winner will advance to the district and then state level. The first place winner will advance to an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. where the national first place winner will receive a $5000 scholarship.

The third scholarship contest is the “Patriotic Art Scholarship contest, where students in grades nine through 12 will compete for $21,000 in national scholarships. Students must submit an original piece of artwork on paper or canvas. Watercolor, pencil, pastel, charcoal, tempera, crayon, acrylic, pen-and-ink or oil may be used. Digital art and photography is not accepted.

The entry must have been done during the current school year and must include a teacher’s signature. Students’ entries must be submitted to the VFW Auxiliary by March 31.

Students begin at the local level of competition, with the first-place winner advancing to the district level, and then to the state level. The state first-place winner will compete for $21,ooo in national awards and the national first-place winner will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship.

VA and Stanford to Pursue the Nation’s First Hadron Center



VA and Stanford to Pursue the Nation’s First Hadron Center

Goal for the center will be to treat Veteran and non-Veteran patients using Hadron therapy

Washington, DC – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Stanford Medicine announced today that they are collaborating to establish the nation’s first Hadron Center in Palo Alto, CA, for the benefit of Veteran and non-Veteran cancer patients who could benefit from Hadron therapy.

VA maintains a strong academic and research affiliation with Stanford Medicine. This long-standing partnership has enabled the VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) to offer an exceptional breadth of medical services to Veterans. Now, VA and Stanford University are looking to expand and enhance this affiliation through new collaborative efforts around the Hadron Center and particle beam therapy for Veteran and non-Veteran patients with cancer.

During his 2016 State of the Union Address, President Obama called on Vice President Biden to lead a new, national Cancer Moonshot, focused on making a decade’s worth of progress in preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer in five years – ultimately striving to end cancer as we know it. After meeting with experts across the country and the world, Vice President Biden identified areas of focus for the Cancer Moonshot – based on barriers to progress and opportunities for improving patient outcomes – and announced a first wave of accomplishments at the Cancer Moonshot Summit on June 29, 2016 at Howard University in Washington, DC.

Today, Vice President Biden is releasing the final report of the Cancer Moonshot Task Force, along with his own Executive Findings, after traveling to many of the major nerve centers in the cancer community. He will also unveil a new set of Federal actions, private sector actions, and collaborative partnerships to further advance the goals of the Cancer Moonshot Task Force, including the Hadron Center.

“We are excited to further expand our current partnership with Stanford Medicine, and explore ways to continue leading Veterans health care into the 21st century. The state-of-the-art Hadron Center would not only improve the lives of those affected by cancer, but further demonstrate VA’s ability to partner toward pioneering innovation and exceptional health care,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald.

In addition to the Hadron Center, other efforts are underway to support the Cancer Moonshot Task Force: the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) made a contribution of $50 million dollars to VA for precision oncology research over the next 5 years; the IBM Watson Million Veteran Initiative will provide 10,000 diagnostic and cancer treatment analyses over the next 2 years; and VA and PCF will host  a national oncology summit, “Launch Pad: Pathways to InnoVAtion,” on November 29.

“These efforts  underscore VA’s dedication and ability to work with private sector leaders and innovative academic institutions, like Stanford University, toward improving Veteran access to leading edge technology,” said VA Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Strategic Partnerships, Matthew S. Collier.

The Hadron Center is anticipated to be a clinical facility, designed to deliver particle radiation beam therapy for the treatment of cancer patients. Presently, the most common radiation beams used for cancer treatment are photons and electrons, which are easy to target to a tumor but can result in damage to normal tissue. Particle beam radiotherapy, on the other hand, uses beams of charged particles such as proton, helium, carbon or other ions to allow more precise targeting anywhere inside the patient’s body, resulting in less damage to normal tissue. Particle beam therapy can be more effective at killing radiation-resistant tumors that are difficult to treat using conventional radiation therapy. Judicious and innovative application of particle therapy can result in improved cure rates for cancer.

“Through our Precision Health vision, Stanford Medicine is committed to providing more personalized health care that is tailored to each individual,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine. “Planning for the Hadron Center embodies this commitment, as we seek to identify optimal ways to offer targeted treatment that both reduces harm and promotes healing.”

This project would be the first of its kind in the nation and serves as an excellent example of public-private collaboration to further research and clinical care, using cutting-edge cancer therapy.

The Hadron Center would significantly complement VAPAHCS’s mission to provide the most advanced care for Veterans, by offering those with cancer access to Hadron therapy treatments and participation in clinical trials.

Custer Hospitality Presents $1000.00 to Custer Veteran’s Memorial Park Fund


Steve Olson (left) Director of Operations for Custer Hospitality presents a $1000.00 check to Tony Gonsor, Chairman of the Board of the Custer Veteran’s Memorial Park Wednesday afternoon ,October 5, 2016 at the park site on Washington St. in Custer, SD. Olson said “we are just doing our part to help this great project that will honor our veterans in Custer. This is a caring community and we are proud to be a part of it”.Photo:Herb Ryan/ Custer Free Press


Custer Hospitality presented a $1000.00 check to Tony Gonsor, Chairman of the Board of the Custer Veteran’s Memorial Park Wednesday afternoon, October 5, 2016 at the park site on Washington St. in Custer, SD. Photo:Herb Ryan/ Custer Free Press. (L-R Front row) Kim Reifschneider, GM Holiday Inn Express Custer, Tonya Ekeren GM Super 8 Custer, Susan Beesley GM Best Western Custer, Glenda Kittenger, GM Econolodge Custer, Tony Gonsor Chairman of the Board Custer Veterans Memorial Park, Mary Gonsor VFW Auxilliary, Gary Lipp board member CVMP. (L-R rear) Candice Atkinson GM Comfort Inn Custer, David Fluck board member CVMP, Don Hone board member CVMP, Ken Irwin board member CVMP and Custer County Veterans Agent, Steve Olson Director of Operations Custer Hospitality. Not pictured, Custer Veteran’s Memorial Park board members Mark Mills and Larry MacieJewski. Not pictured Custer Hospitality, Cheryl Barlow

VA Awards $6.8 Billion for Medical Disability Examinations

 WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced the awarding of 12 contracts between 5 firms totaling $6.8 billion to improve the Medical Disability Examination process (Compensation and Pension or Comp and Pen Examinations) for Veterans.  The awards are intended to reduce Veterans’ wait times for examinations for service-connected benefits, thereby providing faster claims decisions in a more efficient and streamlined way.

 “This is good news for Veterans who are waiting for VA to determine whether a condition can be considered service-connected,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald.  “For these Veterans, we want the process to be smoother – from beginning to end.  When we announced the MyVA initiative in 2014 to improve Veterans’ experience with VA, that meant looking at every process and every product.  These awards represent a way for us to improve a significant process for Veterans.”

 Contracts were awarded to the following firms:

  •  VetFed Resources, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia;
  • Logistics Health, Inc., La Crosse, Wisconsin;
  • Medical Support Los Angeles, A Medical Corporation, Pasadena, CA;
  • QTC Medical Services, Inc., Diamond Bar, California; and
  • Veterans Evaluation Services, Inc., Houston, Texas.

The contracts are being awarded for a period of 12 months with (4) 12-month options, with an aggregate ceiling of $6.8 billion.  The contracts will be managed by VA’s Strategic Acquisition Center based in Frederick, MD.

Chrysler Liquidating Trust Commits $750,000 to Support Homeless Veterans

Donation is Part of VA’s Partnership Efforts Resulting in 220 grants to Veterans and Families

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is partnering with Chrysler Liquidating Trust to provide funds to support VA efforts to end Veteran homelessness. The partnership is part of the MyVA Strategic Partnership Initiative, which works with external organizations to improve the delivery and access of care for Veterans.

Earlier this year, the Chrysler Liquidating Trust committed $750,000 to support VA’s efforts to prevent homelessness in Detroit, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.  Leveraging VA’s existing partnership with the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation, more than $233,000 of these funds have been awarded to cover rent and utility deposits for Veterans.  As of July 2016, approximately 220 grants were distributed to support Veterans and their families.

The Chrysler Liquidating Trust partnership grew out of discussions between Secretary McDonald and Bob Manzo, Trustee for the Trust on the importance of forging strategic partnerships and the ongoing work to end Veteran homelessness.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce another VA partnership,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “VA’s new strategic partnership with the Chrysler Liquidating Trust is a great example of ways VA is opening its doors to new kinds of partners to better serve Veterans. Just this summer, President Obama announced a nearly 50-percent decline in Veteran homelessness.  It’s these kinds of collaborations that are helping us achieve results. Caring for Veterans is a shared responsibility and opportunity.”

“After speaking with Secretary Bob and hearing about VA’s newly invigorated effort to work with external partners, I wanted to find a way to use these funds to support Veterans,” said Trusts’ Manzo.  “There’s no reason VA has to take on issues like homelessness by itself. There are ways that all organizations can step up to the plate to support this important national issue.”

The Chrysler Liquidating Trust was established as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program(TARP). During its creation, it was pre-determined any surplus funds would be allocated to a national cause benefiting Americans. Trust officials chose to allocate those surplus funds to Veterans’ issues.

Since the launch of the MyVA, the largest transformation in the history of VA, the Department has entered into new collaborations with dozens of external organizations to combat issues of homelessness, suicide and Veteran unemployment.

For more information about VA’s Homeless Programs, visit  Information about MyVA transformation efforts may be found at

State of Women Veterans Social Media Campaign Launched


Washington – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is partnering with Women Veterans Interactive (WVI) to launch a State of Women Veterans’ social media campaign. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of women Veterans’ military and societal contributions and provide an avenue for informing women Veterans about the VA benefits they have earned.

“This campaign is a collaborative effort to establish partnerships with nonprofit organizations that advocate and provide assistance on behalf of women Veterans,” said Kayla Williams, Director of VA’s Center for Women Veterans. “We are elated to be partnering with WVI in this important initiative. The new State of Women Veterans’ social media campaign offers another way to connect with women Veterans to raise awareness about VA care and benefits and to encourage collaborative partnerships.”

The campaign will conclude over the Veterans Day weekend and will be recognized and featured during a WVI- sponsored event in November. For more information or to join in the conversation, follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter, like the Department of Veterans Affairs Facebook page and use the hashtag State of #WomenVets. #

VA Highlights Initiatives to Prevent Veteran and Servicemember Suicide

Suicide Prevention Month: #BeThere

WASHINGTON – Today marks the start of Suicide Prevention Month and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is asking for the entire nation’s help in reducing Veteran suicide. VA is calling on community leaders, supervisors, colleagues, friends, and family members to BeThere for Veterans and Service members starting with a simple act, which can play a pivotal role in preventing suicide.

“You don’t have to be a trained professional to support someone who may be going through a difficult time,” said Dr. Caitlin Thompson, Director of the VA Office of Suicide Prevention. “We want to let people know that things they do every day, like calling an old friend or checking in with a neighbor, are strong preventive factors for suicide because they help people feel less alone. That’s what this campaign is about – encouraging people to be there for each other.”

The campaign also highlights VA resources that are available to support Veterans and Servicemembers who are coping with mental health challenges or are at risk for suicide, and it encourages everyone to share these resources with someone in their life.

“We hope our Suicide Prevention Month efforts help educate people about the VA and community resources available nationwide,” said VA Under Secretary for Health David J. Shulkin, M.D. “We’re committed to working with experts and organizations across the country to identify ways we can help Veterans and Servicemembers get the care they deserve and to expand the network of mental health support.”

Veteran suicide data released by the VA Office of Suicide Prevention in early August 2016 serves as a foundation for informing and evaluating suicide prevention efforts inside the VA health care system and for developing lifesaving collaborations with community-based health care partners.

VA plans to host a series of roundtable discussions with key stakeholder groups in the coming months as part of its plan to develop a public health strategy for preventing Veteran suicide. In August, VA hosted its first roundtable discussion, “Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business,” with corporate sector partners. In September, VA will host the Veterans Affairs Suicide Prevention Innovations event, which will bring together a community of experts from business, industry, academia, and government agencies to collaboratively identify solutions for reducing suicide rates among Veterans and Servicemembers. In addition, new programs such as REACH VET are being launched nationwide in September to identify Veterans in VHA care who may be vulnerable, in order to provide the care they need before a crisis occurs.

For more information about VA’s suicide prevention efforts:

Military Honoring Ceremony Held at Custer VFW Post 3442



Custer Mayor Jared Carson presented with Award of Recognition at a Military Honoring Ceremony at Custer VFW Post 3442 on Mt Rushmore Rd in Custer, SD August 11,2016

Jared Carson was born in Texas, moved to the Black Hills as a child, graduated from Custer High School and later attended Texas Tech University. Carson joined the Army December 7, 1999 and spent four years as an airborne Combat Engineer, followed by several years at Fort Bragg, NC working for the 18th Airborne Corps including one year as sapper support for the JFK Special Warfare Center and training support for deploying units. Carson served one year in South Korea working as Training and Operations NCO for the Headquarters Company of the 2nd Engineering Brigade. Leaving active duty, Carson returned to texas and became a Deputy Sheriff, and joined the Army Reserves as a paralegal and was promptly activated. His second tour of duty included being Chief Defense Paralegal with the 1st Cavalry, followed by 3 Corps and the Southeast Region which included fort Hood, Sill, Polk, Bliss and Huachuca. Carson was on the defense teams for the Lindy England Abu Graihb prison trial, the Army’s first fetal homicide case. After 11 years of Active and Reserve Duty, Carson left the Army and Moved back to Custer to become a partner in Green Real Estate and Investments.


Tony Gonsor plays Taps as members of Custer VFW Post 3442 stand at present arms after a 21 gun salute at the Military Honoring Ceremony this afternoon Thursday August 11, 2016 at the VFW Post on Mt. Rushmore Rd. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press


D.D. Couch (R) presents an award of recognition to Lifetime Member of  VFW Post 3442, City of Custer Mayor Jared Carson at the Military Honoring Ceremony this afternoon Thursday August 11, 2016 at the VFW Post on Mt. Rushmore Rd.Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press


Award of Recognition recipient Custer City Mayor Jared Carson thanks members of the Custer VFW Post 3442 for the award and their service to the country at the Military Honoring Ceremony this afternoon Thursday August 11, 2016 at the VFW Post on Mt. Rushmore Rd.Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press