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Home > News & Events > Press Releases > 2012 > Northern Virginia Community College Joins First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to support Veterans and Military Families

Press Releases

Northern Virginia Community College Joins First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to support Veterans and Military Families

May 4, 2012

Educating nursing students on post-traumatic stress disorder & traumatic brain injury

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is joining more than 500 schools in an effort to further educate the nation’s three million nurses on how to recognize post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) in military service members and veterans.

Launched last month by First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden, who is also a NOVA professor, the “Joining Forces” campaign is a national initiative that mobilizes all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.

Organizations and academic institutions from across the country are collaborating with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense to commit to educate nurses on how to recognize veterans affected by PTSD, TBI, depression and other combat-related issues.

“Whether we’re in a hospital, a doctor’s office or a community health center, nurses are often the first people we see when we walk through the door. Because of their expertise, they are trusted to be the frontline of America’s health care system,” said Obama. “That’s why Jill and I knew we could turn to America’s nurses and nursing students to help our veterans and military families get the world-class care that they’ve earned. It’s clear from today’s announcement that the nursing community is well on its way to serving our men and women in uniform and their families.”

“Nurses are at the center of providing lifesaving care in communities across the country -- and their reach is particularly important because our veterans don't always seek care through the VA system,” said Dr. Biden. “This commitment is essential to ensuring our returning service men and women receive the care they deserve.”

According to a White House press release, PTSD and TBI have impacted approximately 1 in 6 American troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, which are more than 300,000 veterans. Additionally, since 2000, more than 44,000 of those troops have suffered at least a moderate-grade traumatic brain injury. 

Ann McGowan, PhD, Assistant Dean of Nursing at NOVA’s Medical Education Campus and the only community college representative besides Dr. Biden who was in attendance at the press conference, remarked, “This forum provides a powerful collaboration among nursing leaders to promote a commitment to healthcare services and education for veterans and their families.”

In addition to the schools, organizations participating include the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National League for Nursing, and The American Psychiatric Nurses Association.

For more information about Joining Forces, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/04/11/americas-nurses-join-forces-first-lady-and-dr-biden-support-veterans-and

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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.