Veterans Readiness InitiativeOn October 31, Salus hosted an interprofessional training seminar in preparation for the 2017 Veterans Readiness Initiative (VRI) multisensory outreach screening events. The first screening event will take place on November 20 as part of the Montgomery County Community College Veterans Expo from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

For the last two years, VRI has provided multisensory screenings to Veterans at local community colleges in an effort to identify potential vision, auditory and/or vestibular issues. Originally developed in 2015, the program is a joint effort between Salus University’s Osborne College of Audiology and Pennsylvania College of Optometry, with external partners Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center Rehabilitation Medicine Services, and Veterans Resource Centers at both the Community College of Philadelphia and Montgomery County Community College. This year, Speech-Language Pathology and cognitive-communication screenings from the University’s College of Education and Rehabilitation will be integrated into the multisensory event.   

The two-hour seminar featured presentations from optometry, audiology, speech-language pathology and psychology experts. Dr. Ann Marie Donohue, associate professor of psychology at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) and faculty advisor for MCCC’s Student Veterans Organization, spoke about the psychological journey of reintegrating to civilian life. Salus University faculty members, Drs. Lynn Greenspan, assistant professor, Bre Myers, assistant professor, and Kathleen Youse, Speech-Language Pathology Department chair, spoke about the impact single and multiple visual, auditory, vestibular and cognitive-communication impairments can have on Veterans’ academic achievements and employability. These two factors are some of the most important aspects for Veterans’ reintegration into civilian life, according to Dr. Karen Hanson, special consultant for Program Development at Salus, who worked to initially develop the program.

“Since many of our students will rotate through a VA hospital [on their externships], goals for the training are to educate future clinicians about the transition from military to civilian life, how sensory system and cognitive-communication impairments acquired during military service can affect academic and workforce performance, and what multisystem dysfunction is and how common it can be in certain populations,” she said.
 
Veterans Readiness IniativeDr. Hanson hopes the Optometry, Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology students in attendance now have a greater appreciation for the improvements in patient care that can be a direct result of interdisciplinary collaboration and a better understanding of the overall health needs of returning Veterans.

“The Veterans Readiness Initiative continues to be an important interprofessional education and practice initiative that not only serves very deserving members of our community but also highlights the interdisciplinary strengths and expertise of Salus University,” said Dr. Linda Casser, the University’s coordinator of Interprofessional Education.