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    Social Success at First Veteran LGBTQ Event in Omaha

    Social Success at First Veteran LGBTQ Event in Omaha

    Photo By Jennifer Scales | Deputy chief of staff for Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System, Dr. Marvin...... read more read more



    Story by Jennifer Scales 

    Columbia VA Health Care System

    The VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System can check the mark for a successful event at the first social gathering of local Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender and Questioning Veterans and the public who came out to listen about health care and support, July 14 at the Metropolitan Community Church in Omaha.

    Every Veteran in attendance received information regarding VA eligibility, medical care, sexual well-being and even employment.

    Civilian payroll specialist John Trickel was one of the leaders from the VA on hand at the event. “It’s okay to be a gay Veteran in the VA,” Trickel said. “We want to reach that special segment of Veterans who need to talk and may find it hard to relate their medical issues and concerns to others in the community. We are here to provide service to all who served, no matter what their orientation may be.”

    Rachel Pender, a maintenance mechanic at the Omaha VAMC, stated, “We hope to create an L-G-B support group in the area. This group would be run wholly and totally by the Veterans themselves. We want them to have an outlet to address their concerns.”

    Staff physician at the Omaha VAMC, Dr. Jessica Novotny, wanted those present to know that Primary Care is where everything begins. “When you come to the clinic as an LGBTQ Veteran, know that it is not the intention of the doctor to make you feel bad by the questions that are asked. Sometimes they don’t know, so the questions are a prompt to begin your health care. The VA is ultimately being more proactive in support for the LGBTQ Veteran.”

    It was stated that the Veteran is the expert in themselves. “It is important to be honest with the doctor and feel free to volunteer health information that may help the doctor in your care,” Novotny said.

    Omaha VA employees Daniel Strohmeier and Larry Krafka discussed the Whole Health Program Initiative with the Veterans. As health care coaches, Strohmeier and Krafka agreed that Veteran health is a team effort.

    Deputy chief of staff for NWIHCS, Dr. Marvin Bittner, rounded out the session. Though his ice breaker was ‘making sex fun’, his information was really all types information about safe practices and new medications on the horizon that could prevent sexually transmitted illnesses.

    Bittner closed the formal session of the social by reinforcing to those present the services offered. “We are here to serve EVERYONE who served,” Bittner said. “We want to make sure you get exactly what you need in health care, what you have earned, and even more when required.”

    If any Veteran desires more information about the Whole Health Program, please call 402.599.2130 in Omaha; 402.486.7822 in Lincoln; or 308.395.3405 in Grand Island.

    More information about the LGBTQ information is available by calling the NWIHCS Public Affairs Office at 402.995.4719.



    Date Taken: 07.14.2018
    Date Posted: 07.15.2018 14:49
    Story ID: 284323
    Location: OMAHA, NE, US 

    Web Views: 166
    Downloads: 0