Updates from the VA Office of Health Equity

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May 5, 2017

Use Your Voice During Mental Health Month for Suicide Prevention

#Be There

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The VA Office of Health Equity is pleased to partner with VA’s Make the Connection campaign to raise awareness of mental health, effective treatments, and efforts to support those who face mental health challenges. 

VA’s Make the Connection campaign encourages Veterans, Servicemembers, and their families to connect with local sources of mental health support when they need them. 

Here are some of other ways that the VA Office of Health Equity is supporting VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin’s breakthrough in Veteran suicide prevention priority by championing the reduction of mental health disparities especially among vulnerable Veterans: Apply an equity lens to Veteran suicide risk and mortality data to inform culturally appropriate and tailored prevention strategies for vulnerable Veteran populations on suicide prevention. Additional ways include: 

  • Data by sex, race/ethnicity & military era/period of service
  • Cultural competency training that includes military culture
  • Holistic approaches that incorporate social determinants of health
  • Screening for changes in family & social support that trigger action
  • Partnerships with cross section of vulnerable populations & stakeholders
  • Culturally sensitive outreach & treatment connection options
  • Use of peer support & community health workers
  • Review and encourage outreach to Veterans who do not receive VA care
  • Consider the impact of the intersection of disparities and social and neighborhood factors for vulnerable Veterans

Suggested Reading from the VA Office of Health Equity:  

OHE Champions Health Equity Issues for Veterans and You Can Get Involved

OHE Gallery Walk

The VA Office of Health Equity had the pleasure of sharing information on Veteran health equity and several tools with VA Senior Leaders at a recent business meeting in Leesburg, Virginia. Below are just a few of the tools we shared: 

VA leaders expressed interest in (1) receiving additional information and training for Veteran health equity issues; (2) implementing existing health equity tools at VA facilities for Veterans and staff; (3) partnering with VA Office of Health Equity to explore data; and (4) developing additional tools and data analytical approaches/displays to explore and address disparities at the VA facility and community levels.

Here are ways that you can get involved

  • Ask your medical provider or leadership team about reducing health disparities among Veterans and efforts they can implement to assist all Veterans in achieving their highest health and wellbeing.  

  • Learn more about efforts to reduce Veteran health disparities by downloading and sharing the VA Health Equity Action Plan. 

  • Visit the Office of Health Equity Tools Page to find trainings and learn more about things you can do to improve your health and the health others you care about.


Health Equity Day Video Keynote Link Update


Dr. Uchenna S. Uchendu, VA OHE Chief Officer, delivered a video keynote at the inaugural VA Western New York Healthcare System’s Health Equity Day on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. Unfortunately, some may have experienced issues with the link to the video keynote that we previously shared. Fortunately, the new link to the video is available below.

Please watch the video, share your thoughts, and encourage your peers to do the same to learn more about VA Office of Health Equity and some of the way we are championing health equity for Veterans.


Our sincerest apologies for any issues experienced.