Wounded Warriors: Joining Forces
Sunday, January 23, 2022

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First Lady Michelle Obama described Joining Forces as "an unprecedented national campaign" to help Americans who have seen loved ones deployed multiple times to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. "This campaign is about all of us," she said, helping military families. The campaign will focus on employment, education and wellness issues that affect military families, including the anxiety spouses and children may face in dealing with deployments, illness, injury and high mobility, according to releases from First Lady Michelle Obama. She will spearhead the effort with Jill Biden, the vice president's wife. Another key advisor to the effort is Patty Shinseki, wife of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. Already help has been recruited from the corporate sector, the nonprofit world and Hollywood. 

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.

"Joining Forces" is developing a four-part educational series addressing 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."