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Summit at UA to Address Needs of Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Life

UA News

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — In the 13 years since American troops first deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, more than 2.6 million veterans have returned home.

One of the biggest challenges veterans face is getting the help they need during their readjustment to home. To help address these growing problems, The University of Alabama’s School of Social Work, and its partners, present “Service Member to Civilian (S2C): A National Summit on Improving Transitions” April 16-17 at the Bryant Conference Center.

“The transition from military life to civilian life is difficult and can be exacerbated by mental and physical trauma,” said Dr. Karl Hamner, assistant dean for the UA Capstone College of Nursing and UA School of Social Work.

“This summit will bring together service members, veterans, their families and community stakeholders to meet with advocates, researchers, clinicians, educators and policy makers from around the nation to better understand and explore ways that all stakeholders can improve the transition from service to civilian life,” Hamner said.

Leading faculty from UA and researchers from the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Alabama Department of Mental Health have come together to identify the various sectors of society that are critical to military-to-civilian transitions.

Therefore, the S2C summit will focus on four themes across multiple societal sectors: the role of higher education, the role of family and children, the role of community and the role of employers.

“After a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s time to reassess how much progress we’ve made in addressing the profound impact of post-traumatic stress disorder and other war-related mental health concerns on the lives of veterans and their families,” said keynote speaker Dr. Charles Hoge, retired Army colonel.

Other significant speakers include Col. James P. Isenhower III, director of the Chairman’s Office of Reintegration; Sarah Plummer Taylor, Veteran Marine Corps intelligence officer; Dr. Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, nationally recognized researcher on military family issues; and Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley, senior leader for the U. S. Army Reserve.

Additionally, summit leaders will lead breakout sessions to help attendees take away practical solutions that can be applied right away.

The School of Social Work at The University of Alabama received a $25,000 grant from the National Institute of Child and Human Development in 2014 to coordinate national summit meetings during “Service Member to Civilian: A National Summit on Improving Transitions,” which will include a second summit in 2016.

General admission for Service to Civilian is $150 with a $100 discount being offered to all veterans, military personnel and family members of military members.

For more information regarding this summit, contact Hamner at 205/348-0129 or visit the conference website at