Online Program

Engaging veterans in conversations about health: A community partnership to promote health

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

Anita D. Misra-Hebert, M.D., Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center/Case Western Reserve University-Masters of Public Health Program, Cleveland, OH
Laura E. Santurri, PhD, MPH, CPH, Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, OH
Richard DeChant, Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, OH
Brook Watts, M.D., M.S., Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, OH
David Aron, M.D., M.S., Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, OH
Background/Objective: The high prevalence of mental health disease, traumatic brain injury, and substance abuse in veterans of recent military conflicts may affect risk for chronic disease development and the self-efficacy/coping mechanisms required for optimal chronic disease management. Veteran students pursuing higher education may be particularly motivated to engage in health promotion. The study objective is to explore both motivations and barriers to improving health in this group using a shared forum, through partnership between a Veterans Affairs(VA) medical center and a community college. Methods: Veteran students at a community college were recruited to participate in focus groups. Participants discussed life priorities, motivations to improve health, and perceptions of medical care. Discussions were audio-recorded and transcribed. Data analysis utilized a conventional content analysis approach to coding and thematic development. Results: A total of 17 veteran students participated in 6 focus groups. Emergent themes included changing views of health after transition from active duty, generational differences among veterans, barriers to accessing health services, and health care costs. Concerns about basic needs such as job/ housing and providing/caring for family, stigma and privacy, and preferences related to health communication were also important themes. Conclusion: Engaging veteran students in conversations about health identified priority areas to inform interventions for chronic disease prevention. The impact of social determinants on health is significant in this group. This partnership between a VA medical center and a community college integrates primary prevention/primary care with public health, bridging a knowledge gap between clinical providers and veterans in the community.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention

Learning Objectives:
Describe both motivations and barriers to improving health in veterans in the community

Keyword(s): Veterans' Health, Community Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an experienced clinician and am currently finishing a 2 year fellowship in the National Veterans Affairs Quality Scholar Program as well as a Masters of Public Health at Case Western Reserve University. My research during the fellowship focused on exploring the needs of veterans in the community who may not be accessing health care services, with a goal of informing future interventions for chronic disease prevention.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.