The American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) has joined with the AHA, HealthPartners, and more than a dozen national organizations in a nationwide effort to educate millions of Americans about the problems faced by returning veterans and their families.  Through the Joining Forces education campaign and curricula, medical professionals across the nation can now receive training online on how to deal with the health issues facing our nation’s troops as they return home from service. Additionally, outreach efforts are designed to inform the varied individuals and organizations that service men and women and their families might turn to for help about these available resources.

The Web site, www.joiningforcesonline.org, will house the four-part series which addresses the most common issues our returning soldiers face including challenges of reintegration, a general overview of health care issues faced by returning military, mild traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as links to a variety of other resources.

 The program was first developed in 2007 by Minnesota-based HealthPartners Institute for Medical Education in partnership with Twin Cities Public Television, the Minnesota Army National Guard and Minneapolis Veterans Affairs.  Since that time, the American Hospital Association has recruited a variety of organizations including the American Medical Women’s Association, the American Association of Medical Colleges, the American Association of Nurse Executives and many others to help promote the program.

“What began as an effort to educate health caregivers in one community in Minnesota about the special needs of returning veterans and their families has grown into a collaboration among national organizations involving hospitals, doctors, nurses, social workers, clergy and many others all across our nation”, said Rich Umbdenstock, President and Chief Executive Officer, the American Hospital Association. “Joining Forces tells an important story about the debt we owe our troops and the enormous level of support they enjoy back home.”

"We have been extremely pleased with the response of veteran, health and social service organizations across the country," said Dr. Carl Patow, executive director of HealthPartners Institute for Medical Education. “With their support, we’re able to generate greater awareness among health care professionals, which in turn helps ensure improved care for our veterans and their families.”

For more information about the program, go to www.joiningforcesonline.org.  The Joining Forces curricula is available to anyone and can be used to meet continuing education credits for physicians across the nation.

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