Community Veterans Engagement Board works to ensure no vet falls through the cracks

As we celebrate the six-year anniversary of the Quad Cities Community Veterans Engagement Board (CVEB) and the highly successful Military Culture Training for Healthcare and Mental Health Providers in May, we look forward to continuing to improve outcomes for veterans in the Quad Cities.

The CVEB is a military advisory committee, formed in 2016 by UnityPoint Health — Trinity. It received the CVEB designation by the Veterans Administration (VA) in 2018 due to the collaborative work being done to assist veterans and their families. The goal is to ensure no veteran in the Quad Cities falls through the cracks. It is the first CVEB formed out of a healthcare system.

The CVEB model enables veteran advocates, service providers, veterans, and stakeholders to get together and identify their community goals and work to resolve issues at the local level to improve service delivery for veterans, families, and caregivers. 

Our CVEB is made up of over 40 individuals representing the VA, Rock Island Arsenal, state, county and local agencies, businesses and nonprofits, and individual veterans. Our three-year strategic objectives include service provider training, resource development, education and awareness, and engagement.

How we can positively impact veterans is at the center of everything we do. In 2019, we served more than 600 veterans at the Quad Cities Veterans Experience Action Center, where 31 VA and community services were provided including the processing of over $250,000 in VA compensation benefits.

And $13,000 was raised for the Trinity Health Foundation’s Military and Veteran Services Fund. The success of that event was so impactful that we have tried to do it each year since. Due to the pandemic, in 2021, the event was transformed into a virtual one, in which, 40 veterans were assisted in areas such as dental care through the help of Scott County’s I-Smile, and health care and benefits through the VA.

This month, we collaborated to bring military culture training to 80 Quad Cities area health care and mental health providers designed to  improve the patient experience for veterans. It taught participants about the uniqueness of military culture, the impact of deployment on the health and well-being of military veterans, the homecoming and transitional challenges to civilian life, and how to talk to veteran patients. We have plans to provide similar training to area clergy later this year. 

We share resources and network within the military and veteran communities to assist individual veterans find what they need. We look for solutions to the issues faced by veterans every day. We love what we do and are honored to serve veterans in this capacity.

Sherri Behr DeVrieze and Shane Kern are the new co-chairs of the Quad Cities Community Veterans Engagement Board. For more information, visit quadcitiesCVEB on Facebook.

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