9 October 2020 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  October 9, 2020


New Blog Entry on MDVA Website

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Dana Burl, Director of the MDVA Outreach & Advocacy program wrote this blog, which is now posted on the MDVA website:

In 2020, Maryland kicked off the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration/US Department of Veterans Affairs Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Service Member, Veteran and Family (SMVF) Suicide. The goal of the Governor’s Challenge is to prevent service member and veteran suicide by using a public health approach to suicide prevention that utilizes a combination of community-based prevention strategies and evidence-based clinical interventions to empower communities and individuals to take action. The Challenges bring cities, communities, and states together to form inter-agency teams dedicated to increasing suicide prevention resources for veterans in their communities.

Maryland is proud to have been chosen as one of the Governor’s Challenge teams.  Leaders of the team are the Maryland Department of Health/Behavioral Health Administration/Maryland’s Commitment to Veterans and the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs.  Through partnerships with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, University of Maryland, Prince George’s County Veterans Commission, Holy Cross Hospital, numerous state agencies, as well as others, we have had tremendous success creating action plans to support service members, veterans, and their families.

The action plan focuses on four key priority areas: identification of SMVF and screening for risk, building connections and transition coordination, lethal means safety, and peer support.  The action plan presented to the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will help inform the Maryland-based Comprehensive Veterans Suicide Prevention Plan required by Maryland SB521.

“Each and every life taken by suicide is a devastating loss for our state, and this tragedy strikes far too often among Maryland’s community of military service members, veterans, and their family members,” said Governor Hogan. “If you or someone you know may be at risk, I urge you to speak up, reach out, and know that you are not alone.”

Read More Here

MDVA Website

Spotlight on Maryland's Veterans Commission

Commissioner Jim Shiffrin, who represents the Military Officers Association of American (MOAA), on the Maryland Veterans Commission announces:

MOAA has set up a COVID-19 Relief Fund, through the MOAA Foundation. Here a few details from the web page: Details


State Partner News

#MasksOnMaryland Challenge

We're joining @GovLarryHogan and @MDHealthDept in the #MasksOnMaryland challenge. If we all do our part, we can help protect ourselves, loved ones, co-workers and communities from #COVID19. Take the challenge and share your reasons for wearing a mask. 

Governor Larry Hogan announced the launch of the #MasksOnMaryland Challenge in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health (MDH). To support Maryland’s ongoing health and economic recovery, Governor Hogan is challenging all citizens, communities, local organizations, and businesses to participate by posting a picture or video of themselves wearing a mask to social media with the hashtag #MasksOnMaryland. 

“Wearing a mask is the best way to keep ourselves and our families safe, and to keep Maryland open for business,” said Governor Hogan. “I wear my mask for my three daughters and four grandchildren. We are all in this together, and I invite Marylanders to join me in sharing their reasons for wearing a mask.”

Dozens of Hogan administration officials—including cabinet secretaries, deputy secretaries, and executive directors—have accepted the challenge and shared their photos for a new kickoff video. 

“We know that wearing a mask in public spaces is a simple but effective way to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” said MDH Secretary Robert R. Neall. “Combined with maintaining social distance, washing your hands, and participating in testing and contact tracing, you can help keep your community safe.”

The #MasksOnMaryland Challenge is the latest expansion of the #MasksOnMaryland campaign, which began in June and now includes radio, digital, TV, and social media content, in addition to ongoing free mask distribution events across the state. The campaign is intended to reach all Marylanders, with a particular focus on people aged 18 to 34 and those who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including Maryland’s Hispanic and African American communities. Learn more about the campaign here. 

To date, Maryland has confirmed 129,425 cases of COVID-19 and has conducted more than 2.8 million COVID-19 tests.

To learn more about COVID-19 in Maryland, visit coronavirus.maryland.gov

More Information

#MasksOnMaryland video

Mark Your Calendar

In this new environment of social distancing, everyone is adapting. Today's seminars are webinars, Zoom meetings, Facebook Live events, Google Meets, and more. If you have a smart phone or a computer, you have what you need to tap into these valuable training and information sessions. Capacity can fill quickly, so sign up early when required to do so.

10/13/2020 - Old School Marketing, New School Results
10/15/2020 - Empowering Women Entrepreneurs
10/21/2020 - Business Plan Basics
10/27/2020 - Prime Contracting in the Small Business Reserve (SBR) Program

Check out our full listing of small business events
online at goMDsmallbiz.maryland.gov.

The Maryland Department of Health Urges You to Fight the Flu

Influenza, or "flu," is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs caused by the influenza virus. Flu is highly contagious and is spread from person to person through the air by coughing or sneezing. It is also spread by direct contact with infected people.
There are two major types of influenza viruses:
  • Type A, which generally causes more severe symptoms
  • Type B, which causes symptoms similar to Type A, but usually less severe
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu, this fall and winter is more important than ever because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More Info

Governor's Commission on Suicide Prevention

If you're interested in applying for an open seat on the Commission, the link to do so is below. We have an opening on the Commission for a young adult (someone who is between the ages of 18 and 25) and a former or current member of the armed forces. The Commission typically meets bimonthly (6 times a year), though we are having one extra meeting this year. Commissioners are required to attend at least 50% of the meetings (which are currently being held virtually). If you'd like more information about the Commission, it can be found here: https://health.maryland.gov/suicideprevention/Pages/Governor's-Commission-on-Suicide-Prevention.aspx. All applicants will need to undergo a vetting process before being considered for appointment. If you have any questions, please contact the Commission Chair, Janel Cubbage, at janel.cubbage@maryland.gov

Application Instructions

Fall Foliage Report in Full Swing

Find out where the leaves are changing in Maryland with the department's weekly Fall Foliage Report. Rangers and foresters across Maryland contribute detailed descriptions and spectacular photos of changing colors across the state for each week's report. Subscribe to the report and plan your autumn hikes, rides, and picnics.

State Parks Hit New Attendance Record

Governor Larry Hogan announced this week that the Maryland Park Service is reporting a total of 17.1 million visitors to date in 2020, already surpassing the previous record of 14.9 million total visitors in 2019, with three months still remaining in the year. During peak season in July, state parks attracted 3.4 million visitors, compared to 2.5 million during the same time period last year. Read more about this record.

Federal Partner News

HIV/HCV Know your Status


Enrolled Veterans can have free HIV and Hep C blood tests at their local VA medical center or clinic. Contact your primary care team to schedule a test. Click here to enroll in VA health care.

VA Programs and Services Spotlight:

Veteran Memorial Benefits

VA burial benefits can help Service members, Veterans, and their families plan and pay for a burial or memorial service in a VA national cemetery. Check out the VA Burial and Memorial Products Quick Start Guide to learn more.

Disability Claims for PTSD

Service-connected mental illnesses, like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), qualify for VA disability. If you're a Veteran with a mental illness, you may be eligible for disability compensation benefits. Learn more about mental health claim exams.

What's Your Veteran Story?

You’re invited to share your story or the story of a Veteran close to you! We want to hear about your service in the military, achievements, families, the transition to civilian, and your life as a Veteran. Send us your stories and pictures to be featured as a daily Veteran tribute in November in celebration of Veterans Month.

VET TEC vs. GI Bill

VA’s GI Bill benefits and Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) can both help you gain valuable skills. VET TEC helps Veterans get short term technology training without using their GI Bill funding! The GI Bill program, on the other hand, provides funds for Veterans to get a traditional degree. Learn which program is right for you and your training needs.


Federal News

The third issue of Military Exposures & Your Health, a biannual newsletter for Veterans with service from 1990 to the present, is now online.

Free Access to Study Edge

VA Study: Different Emotions May Drive Female, Male Veterans to Attempt Suicide

AARP Offers Free Caregiving Resources for Veterans, Families

Post 9/11 Veterans Under Age 35: Join the Fire Corps

Community Partner News

For Your Information

The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs does not endorse the organizations sponsoring these events, and we do not endorse the views they express or the products/services they offer.  The views and opinions expressed in any referenced document do not necessarily state or reflect those of MDVA.  The information provided is intended for your general knowledge only, and serves solely as a MDVA community outreach effort.

Community News

Team RWB - Pledge 10, Tag 10, Take 10 on Saturday, October 10, 2020


MCVET Veterans Day Virtual Run/Walk


Baltimore Station Annual Fundraiser - Stars, Stripes and Chow: Chili Edition


Mission Continues Women Veteran Leadership Program


Soldiers’ Angels Adopt-A-Family Program is open


Gilchrist’s We Honor Veterans’ Year in Review

Women Veterans United

Women Veterans United Committee, Inc. (WVUCI) Workshop Heir to the Crown  was held Friday, September 25th to Sunday, September 27th, 2020.   From left to right:  Georgia Eaves, US Army; Dr. JoAnn Fisher, US Navy Reserves, First Lady Adrian Johnson; Bishop Craig Johnson, US Airforce (Ret.); Tiffany Daniel, US Army (Ret.); and Starlene Hamilton, US Marines (Ret.).

Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 5:00 pm: On behalf of the Women Veterans United Committee, we are extending an invite to your members to the below Breast Cancer Event.  This event will take place both in person (to capacity) and online.  
At this time, we are only accepting Zoom attendees.  See the following information for participants to join the on-line, Zoom Meeting ID: 812 6809 2728. Email Tiffany Daniel, Director of Health & Wellness at td1808@aol.com or Dr. JoAnn Fisher, CEO, at jyf20745@yahoo.com for Passcode Flier

Community Calendar

October 19, 2020

Team RWB - Pledge 10, Tag 10 Take 10

October 15, 2020

Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

Leidos Military Veteran/Spouse Chat

October 18, 2020

Introduction to Hero Dogs (Webinar)

October 29, 2020

Gulf War Exposures & Health Concerns: A Class for Veterans

November 7, 2020

Eastern Shore Stand Down

Baltimore Station - Stars, Stripes and Chow: Chili Edition

November 9, 2020

DVNF Veterans Grab & Go Event

November 11, 2020

Dedication: District Heights Veterans Park

MCVET Virtual Run/Walk