Updates from the VA Office of Health Equity

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September 25, 2017

Office of Health Equity Chief Officer Receives Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust Award

CBC Veterans Braintrust Award

VA Office of Health Equity Chief Officer, Uchenna S. Uchendu, MD, received the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Veterans Braintrust Award for her service to Veterans. The Award was announced and presented on Friday, September 22, 2017, at the Annual Veterans Braintrust Gala and Reception & Awards Ceremony in Washington, DC. The guest speaker was former U.S. Senator Carol Mosley Braun.

Prior to the ceremony, Dr. Uchendu shared some insights into the work of the Office of Health Equity including published products and tools for addressing health and healthcare disparities at the 47th Annual Legislative Conference hosted by the CBC Foundation. Dr. Uchendu’s presentation was included in a daylong session—Reimagining VA Healthcare System for 2040—sponsored by the CBC Veterans Braintrust.

CBC Veterans Braintrust

VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin delivered a video message and the VA Chief of Staff Ms. Vivieca Wright-Simpson gave the keynote presentation from VA. Congressional sponsors who also spoke at the CBC Veteran Braintrust event included Representatives Sanford Bishop (Georgia), Eddie Bernice Johnson and Sheila Lee Jackson (Texas), and Anthony Brown (Maryland). Mr. Ron Amstead, CBC Braintrust Executive Director, moderated the day’s events.

Congratulations to Dr. Uchendu and thank you to the CBC Veterans Braintrust for bringing focus and seeking solutions to health disparities among Veterans.


Last Chance to Register for September FHEA Cyberseminar – Promoting Health Equity with the Virtual Medical Center

VA Virtual Medical Center

Join the VA Office of Health Equity for September’s Focus on Health Equity and Action Cyberseminar session. The session includes the use of the VA Virtual Medical Center to promote health equity for Veterans. Presenters will focus on the use of flipped classroom methodologies to transform traditional training approaches and how virtual training modalities can advance Veteran selfcare and health promotion for achieving health equity.

Promoting Health Equity with the Virtual Medical Center

Thursday, September 28, 2017
3:00 – 4:00pm EST


Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand how flipped classroom methodologies can transform traditional training approaches in VA for staff and Veterans;

  2. Learn how to advance Veteran self-care and health promotion using a 3D virtual environment; and

  3. Increase awareness of VA examples of these approaches to tackle areas of disparities among Veterans.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Rosalyn P. Scott, MD
    Regional Director Specialty Care Center of Innovation (WEST), Long Beach VA Medical Center

  • Uchenna S. Uchendu, MD
    Chief Officer, Office of Health Equity, VA Central Office, Washington, DC

Background Resources

  • VA Virtual Medical Center. Available online at https://vavmc.com/.

  • Scott RP, Uchendu US, Dominquez M. Spectrum of Virtual Patient-Based Decision-Making Simulations Implemented in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) Annual Conference, Helsinki, Finland, August 26-30, 2017. Available online - see page 306.

  • McLaughlin JE, Roth MT, Glatt DM, Gharkholonarehe N, Davidson CA, Griffin LM, et al. (2014). The Flipped Classroom: A Course Redesign to Foster Learning and Engagement in a Health Professions School. Academic Medicine, 89(2), 236-243. Available online.

Intended Audiences

Researchers, clinicians, care coordinators, policy makers, educators, Veteran stakeholders and representatives of vulnerable Veteran groups who are interested in understanding and/or promoting equitable health among all Veterans.


Suicide Prevention Month at the VA

#BeThere for Suicide Prevention


The month of September is recognized as Suicide Prevention Month. However, suicide prevention, is a priority for the VA every day. The VA Office of Health Equity, along with other VA partners and stakeholders, want to remind you of some actions you can take to join forces in preventing suicide for Veterans and Servicemembers. Most importantly, to be there (#BeThere) for Veterans. This simple act may save a life.

Act Now

Learn Now

Visit VA Mental Health Resources and the Veterans Crisis Line for more information about suicide prevention. 

Veterans Crisis Line

Below are recent resources from the VA Office of Health Equity related to Veteran suicide prevention.

Translating Research into Action with the Field Implementation of Journeys with High Blood Pressure Videos in Patient Waiting Areas

Poster Senior Leader Annual Business Meeting

The VA Office of Health Equity is engaging VISN and hospital leadership to stream the Journeys with High Blood Pressure videos in patient waiting areas across VA facilities.  VA research team created the series of videos of actual patients discussing their experiences with high blood pressure and offering tips to take medications, talk to their health care providers, and make other changes. According to the 2016 study, Veterans who watched the videos, compared to those who did not watch the videos, reported greater intentions to: 

  • Become more physically active;
  • Use salt substitutes;
  • Talk openly with their doctor about hypertension; and
  • Remember to take their hypertension medications.

Currently, OHE staff has engaged leadership at multiple VA facilities for commitments to stream the videos in patient waiting areas. Veterans and stakeholders can access these videos online by clicking the button below.

Recent efforts to advance health equity were presented at the VA Senior Leader Annual Business Meeting Hall of Success earlier this month. 

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