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First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden surrounded by service members veterans at a UPenn conference announcing a commitment from nurses to enhance the care of veterans.

Dean Suzanne Campbell was one of only 20 nursing deans nationwide invited to attend a special event with First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden concerning a new initiative to help veterans suffering from “the invisible wounds of war.”

The meeting centered on Fairfield’s School of Nursing joining an effort to educate nursing students on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – two devastating illnesses that America’s war veterans are fighting in increasing numbers. The First Lady and Dr. Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, announced a commitment from nurses across the country eager to serve veterans and military families. In a broad, coordinated effort, more than 150 state and national nursing organizations and nursing schools, including Fairfield – a leader in caring for veterans – have committed to further educate the nation’s three million nurses to meet the unique health needs of service members, veterans, and their families. This project builds on efforts by Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden to help veterans by way of “Joining Forces,” an initiative that mobilizes all sectors of society to address military families’ unique needs as they pertain to employment, education and wellness.

The invisible wounds of war, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, have impacted approximately one in six of troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq – more than 300,000 veterans.

Dr. Campbell said ‘Joining Forces’ is a way for the School of Nursing to further enhance care for area veterans and their families. “Fairfield is grateful for its partnership with the West Haven VA Hospital in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ ‘VA Nursing Academy,’ as well as our involvement in the Center of Excellence in Primary Care Education program. This new endeavor is another vital avenue for our faculty and students to be of service to troops returning home.”

Dr. Campbell was later interviewed on WNPR about how the school is implementing the care of veterans, particularly with regard to PTSD and TBI, into the curriculum.


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