T'Liza Kiel is the director of Veterans Behavioral Health for Mental Health America - Houston. With a veteran population in her area larger than dozens of states, she is an influential and welcome voice with years of experience working for Texas veterans and their families. Check out her latest update and subscribe to the MHA-H Veterans' newsletter. Even if you don't live near Houston, there is always something great to learn or emulate - she (and they) really get after it:
From the Director
T'Liza Kiel, Director of Veterans Behavioral Health
March was yet another high speed and high impact month! The Veterans Behavioral Health Program staff members have been all over the Greater Houston area providing outreach opportunities, facilitating training, participating in events, contributing to national and local initiatives and assisting veterans through one on one peer support and peer support group facilitation.
This issue you will learn that I have been involved in the Mayor's Challenge to Prevent Suicide among service members, veterans and their families. While our team have made many accomplishments this past month to include the Women Veterans Empowerment Expo, the initiation of our veteran support group in the Harris County Jail, our participation in the Women Veterans Day planning committee and photo shoot and another great Military Veteran Peer Network Basic Training course, I am highly excited to announce the Military Cultural Competency course we were able to provide to the VA Research Center of Excellence!
As an advocate of the Veteran Affairs Administration, I am also aware of the many negative stigmas and barriers attached to Veterans accessing VA health care. However, VA health care is a great benefit to our nation's heroes. After working with many veterans, veteran organizations and VA staff and programs over the years I have learned that there is a need for Military Cultural Competency (MIC). MIC is offered by many programs and is a great training asset to those serving the SMVF community. For some time now I have worked through partnerships to offer MIC to VA staff members.
As of March of this year, we can say that we have successfully trained our first VA program. A huge thank you goes out to the VA Research Center of Excellence for being the first program to take advantage of this free training!
The Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety (IQuESt) is a partnership between the Veterans Affairs Health Services Research & Development Service and Baylor College of Medicine. IQuESt has received generous support from the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center since 1990. Over the years, IQuESt has flourished into a research powerhouse that has a growing operating budget, primarily from grants and contracts, and a national reputation inside and outside VHA for excellence in health services research, investigator development, and scientific leadership. As the largest center for health services research in the Southwest, IQuESt houses nearly 200 faculty, postdoctoral fellows, trainees and research staff; and our work is cited in Institute of Medicine Reports as well as clinical guidelines.