Summit on Care for America's Seriously Wounded Veterans Identifies Widening Gap Community Support, Public-Private Collaboration Urged as Solution

LOS ANGELES, May 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A summit gathering, co-hosted by The Gary Sinise Foundation and USC School of Social Work's Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families last month, released findings today that greater community engagement and support were urgently needed to close the widening deficit in care for our nation's seriously wounded and their families.  Summit participants included government, healthcare, medical, education, non-profit leaders as well as wounded veterans and their caregivers from across the country.  The goal of the conference was to identify ways to improve the transition and sustainable re-integration back to normal lives for the country's severely injured veterans from post 9/11 conflicts. 

"Closing the Gap: Meeting the Future Needs of America's Severely Wounded Veterans and Their Caregivers" found that while some 50,000 U.S. servicemen and women have been wounded in combat during the last decade, diminishing government funding and resources are hindering their transition and re-integration into society.

In addition, the 53 participants agreed that the gap in appropriate care for seriously wounded veterans and their families would continue to worsen amid shrinking government resources and a lack of public understanding and involvement. 

To narrow the gap, participants recommended a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing collaboration and information sharing between non-government organizations, such as NGOs, academic institutions, public and private patient facilities and most important, building community support for seriously wounded veterans and their families through local business, government and civic leaders in communities around the United States.

Summit co-chair Gary Sinise, Founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation said, "Grassroots level support by local communities across the nation is clearly the most effective way to help narrow this gap. Community leaders need to mobilize local citizenry to improve the lives of local veterans as caregiving agencies struggle to meet the complex needs of our heroes and their families."

"This important gathering validated the widening gap in care for our seriously wounded veterans and their families and now it's up to us to do something about it," said Anthony Hassan, Director of the USC School of Social Work's Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families.

A full summary of the "Closing the Gap" Summit Report can be found online here.

About The Gary Sinise Foundation

The Gary Sinise Foundation serves the nation by honoring its defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need.  By creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities, the foundation is committed to ensuring that the sacrifices of our brave men and women are never forgotten.  For more information, please visit GarySiniseFoundation.org

About the USC CIR and USC School of Social Work

The USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families aims to strengthen the transition of veterans and their families into the community through education and training, research and partnerships. The center is focused on rapidly increasing the number of clinical social workers and behavioral health providers trained to treat the challenges troops, veterans and their families face, as well as mental health research that can be directly and quickly translated into clinical practice. Visit http://cir.usc.edu/

The USC School of Social Work is the first research university to offer a large-scale military social work program that prepares students to care for service members, veterans and their families, helping them cope with the stresses of military life.

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140502/83859

SOURCE The Gary Sinise Foundation



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