VIST Support Groups:

All groups meet from 10:30-12:00

 

July 2015:

 July 15 – Lancaster at the Cal State Vets Home (30th Street West and Ave I)

 July 20 – Sepulveda – meet at the Gold Team Waiting Area at 10:30

 July 21 – Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center – Audiology Conference Room.  Special Speaker Sarah Majidzadeh, Supervisor for Computer Access Training at the Long Beach Blind Rehab Center.

 July 27 – Bakersfield – Conference Room.

 

August 2015:  (one week later due to the combined BVA Conference and VIST training in Louisville, Kentucky)

 August 24 – Sepulveda

 August 25 – LAACC

 

No groups meet in Lancaster or Bakersfield

 

Hello All,

 

The WBRC Blog has posted an Alumni Update from Chris Rader about his recent experience participating in Project Gemini through the BVA.  Check out the link below for more details:

 

 

Thanks, Summer

Summer Beasley-Hoffman, MA COMS

 

 

ID Cards for Veterans

 


 

Congress on Tuesday approved plans to offer new veteran ID cards to honorably discharged service members, in an effort to more easily prove their military service.

The measure passed through the Senate and House without objection, but took several years to get through Congress. The Obama administration has expressed reservations about the need for the new IDs, but has not threatened to veto the legislation.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., would create official VA cards for all veterans, instead of only those who qualify for certain health care and financial benefits.

Supporters called it a simple move to honor the sacrifice and service of veterans.

"This legislation will assist veterans in proving that they are indeed veterans," said Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif. "The majority of service members leave before retirement ... and are sometimes challenged to provide proof of their honorable service. This is a simple way to resolve this issue."

The cards would not replace medical IDs or official defense retiree IDs for veterans, and could not be used as proof of eligibility for obtaining federal benefits.

But they would serve as easy proof of military service for many veterans who complain they have to carry around copies of their discharge paperwork to get discounts or services at a host of private businesses.

Buchanan argued that practice is at best cumbersome and at worst unsafe, given the personal information included on those official documents.

Veterans requesting the IDs would have to pay a small fee, to be determined by Veterans Affairs officials. That fee would cover the cost of the program.

The measure heads to the White House to be signed into law. No time frame has been established for when the first ID cards might be issued.

 

 

 

The Early Brief -- Blinded Vets Say Not Enough Research Money Goes Toward Vision Injuries

 

F Y I    May be of interest to you.

Blinded Vets Say Not Enough Research Money Goes Toward Vision Injuries

 

 

VA News Release

 

 

 

 

07/07/2015 05:45 PM EDT

 

 

VA Funds New Studies Using Million Veteran Program Data

Database Links Genetic, Clinical, Lifestyle and Military Exposure Information

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is announcing four new studies that will use genetic and other data from VA’s Million Veteran Program (MVP) to answer key questions on heart disease, kidney disease, and substance use—high-priority conditions affecting Veterans.

MVP, which has enrolled more than 390,000 Veterans so far, has already become the nation’s largest database linking genetic, clinical, lifestyle and military exposure information.  Part of a beta test for data access, the newly funded studies are among the first to use MVP data to delve into pressing questions on Veterans’ health. MVP-based studies on PTSD, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are already underway.

“MVP is making important discoveries that will impact healthcare for Veterans and all Americans,” said VA Secretary Bob McDonald. “We’re grateful to our Veteran partners, whose altruism has made this possible.”

The new research, which will specifically include the understudied African American and Hispanic Veteran populations, ties into the broader national Precision Medicine Initiative announced by President Obama earlier this year.

“There’s already been an impressive amount of data collected through MVP, and we’re continuing to engage more Veterans in the program and building its research infrastructure through studies like these,” said Dr. Timothy O’ Leary, VA’s chief research and development officer.

The new studies, involving consortiums of VA researchers and university colleagues, will explore specific questions related to chronic illnesses common among Veterans. They will also help establish new methods for securely linking MVP data with other sources of health information, including non-VA sources such as the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS).

The new studies include the following:

Cardiovascular risk factors—Drs. Farooq Amin and Peter Wilson at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, and Dr. Kelly Cho at the Boston VA Health Care System, will lead an effort probing the genes that influence how obesity and lipid levels affect heart risk. Using MVP data, their team will also look at whether these genetic factors differ among African Americans and Hispanics. “These populations are extremely important in VA,” said Amin.

Multi-substance use—Drs. Daniel Federman and Amy Justice at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, and Dr. Henry Kranzler at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, will examine the genetic risk factors for chronic use of alcohol, tobacco, and opioids—and the dangerous use of all three together. “MVP offers an unprecedented opportunity to advance this field,” said Federman.

Pharmacogenomics of kidney disease—Dr. Adriana Hung at the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System will focus on how genes affect the risk and progression of kidney disease. One goal is to examine how patients with diabetes—who often develop kidney problems—respond differently to the drug metformin, the standard first-line treatment for diabetes, based on their genetic profile. The project will also look at the genetics of hypertension, a major risk factor for kidney disease.  “Kidney disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Veterans and we’re hoping to gain insights that will drive personalized medicine for this population,” said Hung.

Metabolic conditions—Dr. Philip Tsao at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System and Dr. Kyong-Mi Chang at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, leading a team of researchers from five VA regions and two universities, will explore the role of genetics in obesity, diabetes, and abnormal lipid levels (namely, cholesterol and triglycerides), as drivers of heart disease. “This project will help us more thoroughly understand the underlying causes of cardiometabolic disease and develop new therapies that are safe, effective, and personalized,” said Tsao. “This is also a great opportunity to partner with our colleagues at Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania,” added Chang.

For more information about MVP and VA research in general, visit www.research.va.gov

 

 

 

LowViz Guide Press Release

 

A product of the efforts TAVVI this year is discovery of the service below, and directing the  provider to BVA.  This service will be part of the BVA convention in Louisville.

 

 

Begin forwarded message:

 

From: MDSupport <director@mdsupport.org>

Subject: LowViz Guide Press Release

Date: May 14, 2015 at 6:14:34 PM CDT

 

MD Support’s LowViz Guide Offers Gift of Sight

For four days, Bill DeMaio could see through walls. And that’s really saying something, considering that he has no eyesight. Until May 10, 2015, Bill could find his way around an unfamiliar building only by either asking people for directions or hoping to find Braille signs. But then, on the first day of the 2015 National ADA Symposium, he was given an extraordinary gift of sight.


Bill was the first person to use a new wayfinding application called LowViz Guide, created specifically for visually impaired attendees at state and national conferences. On the first day of the event, he stood with his guide dog, Izaac, in the middle of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta hotel’s pre-conference area. Neither of them had ever set foot or paw in that room before, but after simply listening to his iPhone for a minute or so, Bill was amazed that he could describe and give directions to meeting rooms, restrooms, vendor booths, and other unique points of interest in the entire conference area, even those that were beyond normal sight.

Once he realized that he was now on equal or better par with the fully-sighted attendees, he decided to sign in. Turning toward the registration table 50 feet away and around the corner, he guided Isaac to the exact location. That’s right, Bill guided Izaac, whose look of canine bewilderment was matched only by the big smile on his owner’s face.

LowViz Guide is the latest embodiment of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon technology, popping up in public venues all over the world. It is similar to GPS, but it is useable indoors, where access to satellites, Internet, and cell service may not be available. With a smart phone or tablet, the user can call up a map and routing information on the screen, no matter where he or she is standing in the venue. And now, in combination with the phone’s speech capability, that information is also available audibly for blind and low vision people.

In July of 2014, Liz Trauernicht, director of MD Foundation, saw the need for a guided assistance program at low vision conferences, so she asked her resource consultant, Dan Roberts, if he could research the possibilities. Along with his duties as founding director of MD Support and Editor-in-Chief of Prevent Blindness’ Living Well With Low Vision section, Roberts accepted the challenge. He decided that BLE technology was the answer, so he contracted
Indoo.rs, a wayfinding technology company based in Vienna, to design the LowViz Guide app to his specifications.

After months of development, the product was launched to rave reviews at the Atlanta conference. And, with ongoing funding from MD Foundation, MD Support is providing it free-of-charge to five more conventions through October. Future participating organizations are American Council of the Blind,  Blinded Veterans Association, Guide Dogs For The Blind, California Council of the Blind, and Pennsylvania Council of the Blind. For information about LowViz Guide and how to request it for events, visit
www.mdsupport.org/audioguide.

 MD Support’s LowViz Guide Offers Gift of Sight

For four days, Bill DeMaio could see through walls. And that’s really saying something, considering that he has no eyesight. Until May 10, 2015, Bill could find his way around an unfamiliar building only by either asking people for directions or hoping to find Braille signs. But then, on the first day of the 2015 National ADA Symposium, he was given an extraordinary gift of sight.


Bill was the first person to use a new wayfinding application called LowViz Guide, created specifically for visually impaired attendees at state and national conferences. On the first day of the event, he stood with his guide dog, Izaac, in the middle of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta hotel’s pre-conference area. Neither of them had ever set foot or paw in that room before, but after simply listening to his iPhone for a minute or so, Bill was amazed that he could describe and give directions to meeting rooms, restrooms, vendor booths, and other unique points of interest in the entire conference area, even those that were beyond normal sight.

Once he realized that he was now on equal or better par with the fully-sighted attendees, he decided to sign in. Turning toward the registration table 50 feet away and around the corner, he guided Isaac to the exact location. That’s right, Bill guided Izaac, whose look of canine bewilderment was matched only by the big smile on his owner’s face.

LowViz Guide is the latest embodiment of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon technology, popping up in public venues all over the world. It is similar to GPS, but it is useable indoors, where access to satellites, Internet, and cell service may not be available. With a smart phone or tablet, the user can call up a map and routing information on the screen, no matter where he or she is standing in the venue. And now, in combination with the phone’s speech capability, that information is also available audibly for blind and low vision people.

In July of 2014, Liz Trauernicht, director of MD Foundation, saw the need for a guided assistance program at low vision conferences, so she asked her resource consultant, Dan Roberts, if he could research the possibilities. Along with his duties as founding director of MD Support and Editor-in-Chief of Prevent Blindness’ Living Well With Low Vision section, Roberts accepted the challenge. He decided that BLE technology was the answer, so he contracted
Indoo.rs, a wayfinding technology company based in Vienna, to design the LowViz Guide app to his specifications.

After months of development, the product was launched to rave reviews at the Atlanta conference. And, with ongoing funding from MD Foundation, MD Support is providing it free-of-charge to five more conventions through October. Future participating organizations are American Council of the Blind,  Blinded Veterans Association, Guide Dogs For The Blind, California Council of the Blind, and Pennsylvania Council of the Blind. For information about LowViz Guide and how

 

 

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