Minority Veterans’ needs and issues about VA benefits and services will be the focus of the inaugural 2019 National Minority Veterans Summit Sept. 27-28 at the Sheraton Hotel in Dallas, Texas.
Attendees will hear from VA senior leaders as well as participate in breakout sessions focused on compensation and pension, employment, physical and mental health, entrepreneurship and more.
The Center for Minority Veterans, or CMV, hosts the summit. It will engage, inform and educate minority Veterans and their families about the latest VA programs and services that will provide a positive impact their lives, said Stephen B. Dillard, executive director for CMV.
Target audiences for the summit include all Veterans, their families, survivors, caregivers, public sector partners including military, federal, state and local agencies, Veteran Service Organizations, other nonprofit partners, researchers, representatives from the tech industry, community partners and VA employees.
“CMV realizes that we cannot save the world with this summit however, our goal is to capitalize on the subject matter expert’s presentations, breakout session and research, and assist with disseminating these issues and following up with our Veterans,” Dillard said.
Summit will be ‘springboard’
Dillard said the summit will be a “springboard” that will help Veterans in the following areas:
An onsite claims clinic
Understanding their benefits
Continuing education opportunities
Understanding the new compensation, pension, and new appeals modernization processes
The new community care and caregivers policy and regulation
Understanding the MISSION Act
“VA is focusing on effective customer service, implementation of the MISSION Act, completing the transfer of Veteran medical records to electronic health records and implementing the VA Appeals Modernization Process,” Dillard said. “As a result, in order to engage, inform and educate our minority Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors, it is imperative we create a platform to share this important and most current information regarding VA programs and services.”
Dillard said hearing issues from minority Veterans will also be an important part of the summit. He said some minority Veterans see low enrollment in health care, targeted medical research and making sure they have comprehensive health care—something better available through the MISSION Act.
“This is our inaugural summit,” he said. “It will help us identify the critical needs of our minority Veterans.”
The VA has more than 275 Minority Veterans Program Coordinators throughout the nation. Those coordinators are training Sept. 26 and will be on hand Sept. 27-28 to assist Veterans.
Dillard said VA leaders want two important takeaways: Veteran expectations of VA and what issues they have that VA may assist with. He said VA will take this information back to provide the best solutions for Veterans while providing effective and efficient VA programs and services.