The 2013 Warrior-Family Symposium (WFS) will be held on Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. The event, Mental Health: Linking Warriors and Their Families, Government and Society, is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and co-hosted by the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA). USAA is the executive sponsor of the event.Registration is free to all active duty, Reserve or Guard members of the military and their spouses.
I had the opportunity to speak with Kathryn M. Beasley FACHE Captain, United States Navy (Ret), who serves as the Deputy Director, Government Relations: Specializing in Healthcare Issues for The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).
Charles “Chazz” Pratt III (CP3): First off, I’d like you to tell me a little about yourself and your role with the The 2013 Warrior-Family Symposium (WFS).
Kathryn M. Beasley (KB): I retired after 30 years of active duty from the Navy in 2009. I was a Captain and a Nurse Corps Officer. I joined MOAA shortly after I retired and I do healthcare for MOAA. This year, I was given the responsibility of establishing and arranging our 7th Annual Event.
CP3: And this year’s theme, “Mental Health: Linking Warriors and their Families, Government, and Society,” is a very timely topic. If you can tell me about the importance of each individual element of this – Warriors, Families, Government, and Society, let’s start with the Warriors.
KB: Well, it’s all combined because we really don’t segment out just the Warriors because mental health issues and the challenges they’re facing encompasses all of us. We’re looking inside the family and outside the family. What we’re doing this year is looking taking a broad look at mental health and challenges this from across generations – from back to Vietnam to the current generation of Warriors and Families. These mental health issues transcend generations.
CP3: You also have some informative panel discussions planned to discuss mental health. This looks like something our readers don’t want to miss!
KB: Our first panel of three will discuss the scope of mental health on Warriors and their Families across the generations with Panelists sharing perceptions and perspectives. This will include representatives from The Korean War, Vietnam, and the current conflict. This will set the stage for the generational aspects of mental health.
CP3: Tell me about the second panel.
KB: The second panel will discuss the significance of the psychological and cognitive injuries in the military and veteran populations. We have some research and data on the subject and how it being reflected in society.
CP3: And, the third panel?
KB: Our third panel will discuss new innovations and solutions taking place in the mental health field. Our panel will present lots of cutting edge, alternative therapies.
CP3: Looks like you have some Authors, Actors, a Professional Athlete, and a host of others! I noticed several Keynote Speakers including Celebrities such as Brian Delate who is a Veteran/Actor/Playwright. Also, Hip Hop Artist/Veteran named Soldier Hard delivering a Special Video Message to Attendees. And, you have representatives from the Veterans Administration, specifically, Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health, Department of Veterans Affairs Robert L. Jesse, M.D., Ph.D. in addition to the Vice Chief of Staff, Army General John F. Campbell, USA, and the Chairman Bernie Sanders, (I-VT) of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.
KB: One of the unique things we’re doing is placing cards in the audience so that participants can offer solutions to the entire group. We plan to read some of these during the course of the event so we can share what some people are already doing – we want to share solutions.
CP3: Mental Health is definitely a Team effort! It’s great to see you’ve put together so many people that can make an impact on this important aspect of military life. One final thought on this exciting program, where can you find more information about how to register for The 2013 Warrior-Family Symposium (WFS)?
KB: Just a quick reminder that this event is free. You can register and learn more about The 2013 Warrior-Family Symposium (WFS) here: http://www.ndia.org/meetings/3120/Pages/default.aspx