Where Do Soldiers Really Come From? A Faculty Development Workshop on Veteran-Centered Care

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Abstract

Problem

Addressing the medical concerns of veterans in both civilian health care systems and the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system, where staff are familiar with issues of military reintegration, remains difficult but is increasingly important.

Approach

In 2013, the authors developed and implemented a faculty development workshop for practicing clinicians using the documentary Where Soldiers Come From. The workshop included topics on unconscious bias, the service member trajectory, health care disparities, and strategies for overcoming barriers to treating veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The workshop engaged faculty in the following active-learning techniques: images in education; trigger video; critical thinking and reflective writing; think–pair–share; and large-group discussion. The workshop has been conducted at three locations with 46 health care professionals.

Outcomes

Thirty-one of 37 (84%) participants who completed the workshop evaluation were VA employees. The evaluation results show 25/32 (78.1%) participants indicated the workshop activities changed their knowledge, attitudes, and/or skills; 22/34 (64.7%) stated they had a better understanding of how to develop a care plan for veterans; and 27/34 (79.4%) stated they gained a better understanding of how to prepare for issues around returning veterans.

Next Steps

To address the issue of veteran-centered care education more broadly, the authors have developed a massive open online course for health professionals, using most of the content from this workshop, which will be offered in spring 2016. Another important next step will be to deliver this workshop to and collect evaluation data from non-VA providers.

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