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Inaugural Joining Forces Conference Attracts 170 Health Care Professionals, Veterans to Campus


Inaugural Joining Forces Conference Attracts 170 Health Care Professionals, Veterans to Campus

The St. John Fisher College Wegmans School of Nursing hosted the inaugural “Joining Forces” conference on May 13 and 14, promoting the health of veterans, military personnel, and their families, attracting over 170 health care professionals, veterans, and active military personnel to campus.

The conference provided a venue for health care professionals to engage with clinicians, educators, researchers, and persons who have experienced physical and/or emotional conditions associated with military service to explore strategies for promoting the physical and mental health of veterans, military personnel, and their families. It represented a regional initiative that follows the lead of the national “Joining Forces” effort led by First Lady Michele Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, which calls attention to critical health care issues facing members of our armed forces, our veterans, and their families.

Monday evening’s keynote speaker was Lieutenant Colonel David M. Wallace, MD, MPH; Chief, Primary Care Clinic in Fort Drum. He presented “What’s Walking Through the Door: Relating to Members of the Military, Veterans, and Their Families.” Wallace, a native of Rochester, spent three years in Germany during his first military tour. Then, as part of Task Force Falcon IB, he spent five months in Kosovo in support of the stabilization force from November 1999 through April 2000. In addition, he has deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005-2006 with the 10th Combat Support Hospital, and again in 2008-2009 with the 10th Mountain Division (LI) Headquarters as part of Multi-National Division South. He has served as the Division Surgeon to the 10th MTN DIV (LI), as the BN Surgeon to the 3-85th IN BN (P) Warrior Transition Battalion, and currently serves as the Chief of the Primary Care Clinic, Guthrie Army Health Clinic.

Lieutenant Colonel Wallace addresses crowd

Lieutenant Colonel David M. Wallace, MD, MPH

Tuesday morning’s opening session featured Thomas W. Miller Ph.D., ABPP, ’65, Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scientist, University of Connecticut, Center for Health, Intervention & Prevention; Professor, University of Kentucky, College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. He presented “Veterans Healthcare: 21st Century Issues and Directions.”

A total of 16 workshops followed Miller’s presentation, and focused on issues related to physical health, mental health, children and families, resiliency training, provider self-care, military culture, polytrauma care, and women veterans.

The conference was co-sponsored by the 10th Mountain Division and the Canandaigua VA Medical Center, and was dedicated in memory of Thomas Way ’66, who lost his life serving in the Vietnam War in 1967. He is the only known graduate of the College killed in action while serving in any military conflict.

Thomas Miller in front of crowd

Thomas W. Miller Ph.D., ABPP, ’65

Kate Mitchell presenting

Kate E. Mitchell, FNP, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army. Medical Director, Fort Drum Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic presenting, "Care of the Generation Y Veteran - What Civilian Clinicians Need to Know."

Lieutenant Colonel Wallace, Dianne Cooney Miner, Donald Bain, and Doug Bufano

Lieutenant Colonel David M. Wallace; Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, Dean, Wegmans School of Nursing; Dr. Donald Bain, President; and Dr. Doug Bufano, Adjunct Associate Professor, Mental Health Counseling Program and conference co-chair.

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