White House wounded warrior policy director fields questions on Twitter

Blue logo for Twitter social networking site, including the word "twitter" and a blue bird.The White House director of Veterans and Wounded Warrior Policy, Matt Flavin, hosted a virtual question-and-answer session via Twitter yesterday morning, addressing inquiries and concerns about the Obama administration’s policies, programs and plans related to the military and veteran communities.

The most frequently asked questions were about improving the quality of and access to mental health care for Service members and veterans, particularly for women veterans. Mr. Flavin responded that there is currently a historic level of funding set aside for improving the provision of mental health care services for warriors and veterans, and pointed to several new women veterans’ health care initiatives recently undertaken by the Department of Veterans Affairs. These include the Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group, and targeted outreach efforts emphasizing heart health, the need for frequent mammograms and treatment for military sexual trauma.

Mr. Flavin also highlighted the recently announced partnership between the First Lady’s Joining Forces initiative and medical schools around the country that have committed to training medical students to better meet the needs of military families, including increased training on treating mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Also high on the list were questions related to training opportunities and other programs designed to help Service members and veterans transition successfully to the civilian world. Mr. Flavin responded that the DoD, VA and Small Business Administration (SBA) are currently working together to design training for transitioning Service members, and to expand the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV). EBV offers cutting edge experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with service-connected disabilities. The program is offered at universities around the country, including Syracuse University, UCLA, Purdue University and Cornell University.

In addition to upcoming expansions to EBV, the VA will also be hosting the National Veterans Small Business Conference in Detroit on June 25-29. This event directly supports the President’s message in this week’s State of the Union Address that veterans are crucial to the U.S. economy.

Mr. Flavin also answered questions about VA studies on the effect of exposure to burn pits, as well as pointing participants wondering about available financial assistance for military spouses to information about the VA caregiver program.