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Printed and Web-Based OEF/OIF/OND Culturally- Relevant Family Education Materials

del Valle LE, Freytes IM, Midolo JP, Collison B, Wing K, Uphold CR. Printed and Web-Based OEF/OIF/OND Culturally- Relevant Family Education Materials. Paper presented at: VA Caribbean Healthcare System Annual Research Day; 2015 May 22; San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Background: Despite efforts by the VA to improve the reintegration of all OEF/OIF/OND Veterans, the unique needs of cultural subgroups have only received limited attention. Despite the high numbers of USVI service members who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, we could find no post-deployment health information or published research on patient education and community reintegration needs of this unique subgroup of Veterans. Objective: To identify and address the healthcare needs of OEF/OIF/OND Veterans living in the US Virgin Islands. Methods: Community-based participatory research methods were employed in this project. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDCynergy Model and Re-Aim framework guided the implementation and evaluation of this project, respectively. Data was collected from document review (government, VA, census); literature and internet searches; semi-structured telephone interviews with VA employees, US Army administrators, and local community leaders; and focus groups with VA and non-VA providers (n = 9) and OEF/OIF/OND Veterans (n = 9). Findings: Health care and social problems included mental health issues, violence, substance abuse, and unemployment. Barriers to receiving care included a "culture of privacy" and stigma, transportation challenges in reaching the main medical center in PR and financial concerns. Facilitators to receiving care were a strong network of VA and community professionals and a positive perception of VA as trying to improve services in the USVI. We also found a lack of educational materials to help with post-deployment readjustment. Outcomes: We created and printed the "Post-Deployment Readjustment Guide for US Virgin Islands Veterans and their Families." We disseminated 950 books to Veterans and their families at Veteran Service Organization and National Guard events and through professionals in the VA and the University of the Virgin Islands. Impact: The project provides a model that can be used throughout the VA to develop, promote, evaluate, and implement family education for persons of diverse culturally backgrounds.

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