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    LGBT Veteran information presented in Omaha radio broadcast

    LGBT Veteran information presented in Omaha radio broadcast

    Photo By Jennifer Scales | Interview complete! Neil Nelkin (right), program producer of Newstalk 1290 KOIL in...... read more read more



    Story by Jennifer Scales 

    Columbia VA Health Care System

    No questions or topics were off limits during a recent radio interview taping held at the NRG Media station June 19 in Omaha as three Omaha Veterans Affairs Medical Center employees shared information and answered questions about the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender program in the Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System.

    Neil Nelkin, program producer of Newstalk 1290 KOIL, took them at their word by putting some questions to them during the 30-minute segment which he felt would be of interest to the listeners of the station.

    “Many Veterans never got the perception that they were embraced when the ‘Don’t Tell, Don’t Ask’ policy was deactivated” Daniel Strohmeier, an LGBT Veteran and a Veteran Care Clinician said. “I was stationed in Hawaii in a battalion of nearly 500 persons and the only openly gay servicemember when the policy changed. There was no celebration and welcoming, and I think many Veterans feel the VA is the same, but it is not like that. The VA policy is to care for everyone.”

    The discrimination is evolving, yet training is still important, according to Rachel Pender, LGBT Special Emphasis Program Manager at the Omaha VAMC. In addition to being one of the maintenance mechanics at the facility, her SEPM position allows her to enlighten the staff of the LGBT inclusions around the VA.

    “We serve all who serve,” Pender said.

    Jessica Hilbert, a registered nurse and an LGBT Veteran Care Clinician, noted there are health risks that the LGBT Veteran may experience. “When Veterans come in for orientation, they are asked questions so that we can assess and let them know we have resources available for them.

    Pender pointed out sometimes genders are sometimes mistaken. “If you misgender someone, just apologize and move on,” she said.

    For Strohmeier, getting the care in the VA is a no brainer. “Providers are and seem to be more aware of the situations of an LGBT Veteran.”

    When Nelkin asked about specific care that could be offered to LGBT Veterans, Hilbert said one should look at care for the physical and the mental aspect needed. For instance, in Transgender circumstances, Hilbert said, “Though the VA does not give ‘top or bottom’ radical surgery, they will provide medicine and services to support them through their transition. Hormone replacements or speech therapy are offered also as they continue in their change process.”

    When it comes to numbers in the Nebraska count, nearly 500 LGBT Veterans have been accounted, but “that number has got to be higher,” Pender said.

    NWIHCS is the only hospital in the nation with an LGBT clinical reminder.

    For now, the difficulty exists in getting Veterans to come to the VA. That’s where the various outreach services come into play because of the LGBT Veteran’s lack of knowledge and education about VA services.

    When it comes down to the interaction with the LGBT community, the NWIHCS staff realizes when you care for one Veteran, you care for ALL Veterans.

    WRITER’S NOTE: To hear the broadcast, click on the link or send it to your personal email to listen: I&A 06-24-2018 LGBTQ Veterans and the VA.mp3



    Date Taken: 06.19.2018
    Date Posted: 06.20.2018 16:13
    Story ID: 281695
    Location: OMAHA, NE, US 

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