Rush matches vets with health IT work

May 12, 2014 in Medical Technology

Rush University Medical Center in Chicago has created a public community to support its EN-Abled Veteran Program, which helps military veterans transition to successful healthcare IT careers.

Jaime Parent, associate CIO and vice president of IT operations at Rush and a U.S. Air Force retired lieutenant colonel, notes in a news release that Illinois is home to approximately 80,000 to 100,000 veterans. About one-third of them suffer from invisible wounds, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Parent created the EN-Abled Veteran Connect community so that organizations anywhere in the county could replicate it.

[See also: CIOs see value in mission-driven vets]

“The character traits that veterans possess — loyalty, integrity and a sense of service, to name a few — are exactly the traits employers look for,” Parent adds. “The EN-Abled Veteran Program trains veterans for sustainable careers in which they will feel useful, facilitating a healthy transition back to civilian life.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the healthcare industry will add more jobs than any other sector through 2018.

[See also: Rush to go live on new EMR]

In March 2014, Rush University Medical Center launched the Road Home Program: The Center for Veterans and Their Families at Rush, to provide support, counseling, and health services for veterans and their families in the greater Chicago region understand, heal from and cope with the invisible wounds of war. While the Road Home Program offers diagnostic, treatment and referral services at Rush, the EN-Abled Veteran Program further supports veterans by preparing them for vocational opportunities via a six-month internship that trains them and/or their families, providing the necessary tools to obtain employment and build a foundation for a successful healthcare IT career.

“Rush’s programs exercise a holistic approach in helping veterans,” Will Beiersdorf, director, Road Home Program, said in a statement. “It’s our hope that other organizations see the value we offer vets, and act to reproduce our programs.”

The medical center tapped Seattle-based Next Wave Connect, which bills itself as the provider of the first healthcare industry-specific enterprise social collaboration communities.

“We are honored that Rush chose Next Wave as its venue for the EN-Abled Veteran Program community,” said Drex DeFord, CEO of Next Wave Connect. in a news release. “As a military veteran, I couldn’t be more proud to support the men and women who will benefit from this important endeavor.”

DeFord, a retired lieutenant colonel with the United States Air Force, is scheduled to present at the upcoming HIMSS webinar, “You’ve Got This! Making the Transition from Military to Civilian Healthcare.”

The free webinar is set for today at 2 p.m. CDT, and is part of the HIMSS Veterans Career Services series, focused on topics geared for veterans and transitioning service members interested in careers in health information technology. After the webinar the conversation will continue at the EN-Abled Veteran Program Connect community.

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