Pathway Home Nears Deal with Napa Valley College

Pathway Home Nears Deal with Napa Valley College

nvcmulticolorlogosmallSince its founding nine years ago, The Pathway Home has partnered with veterans’ agencies, nonprofits and donors to treat hundreds of military men suffering from war’s aftereffects. In the coming months, the therapy program may gain the most important ally for its future: Napa Valley College.

Read the Full Story in the Napa Valley Register.

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Dr. Alex Threlfall Joins The Pathway Home Board of Directors

Dr. Alex Threlfall Joins The Pathway Home Board of Directors

Alex ThrellfallAlexander Threlfall, M.D., M.A., functions as a Clinical Instructor for the University of California San Francisco Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Threlfall completed his fellowship training in geriatric psychiatry at UCSF in June of 2011 and his residency training at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010, where he served as chief resident. He was recently the Associate Chief of Community Based Outpatient Clinic Mental Health Services and Director for Mental Health at the Santa Rosa CBOC for the San Francisco VA and recently joined Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, a network of Sonoma County Federally Qualified Health Centers, as Medical Director for the Brookwood Health Center, which is funded to provide Primary Care and Mental Health services for the homeless in Sonoma County.

He attended medical school at Texas Tech School of Medicine in Lubbock, TX and has a masters in biotechnology from Columbia University – NYC. He has been a member of the AAGP since 2008 and from 2010 to 2011 sat on the board of the AAGP’s Political Action Committee as the MIT. Over the course of his AAGP membership, he has served on and/or contributed to a variety of committees and caucuses including the AAGP’s Public Policy Committee, Annual Meeting Planning Committee, Scholars Program and VA Caucus. He has also chaired and presented symposia on Telepsychiatry and Psychotherapy in Late Life depression for the last two years at the APA (2013) and AAGP (2014). Lastly, Dr. Threlfall will have completed his 3 year term as Council Member for the APA’s Council on Geriatric Psychiatry.

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100 Men Who Give a Damn Select The Pathway Home

100 Men Who Give a Damn Select The Pathway Home

100 Men Who Give a Damn about Napa County is a group of local men who are interested in supporting our community by contributing to Napa County charities like The Pathway Home together as a group to increase the impact.

They come from all walks of life and varying financial backgrounds. As individuals it is difficult to make a very large impact, but as a group they believe they have the ability to contribute to the growth of our community in ways never before thought possible.

The Pathway Home couldn’t agree more. On behalf of our Board of Directors, staff and today’s veterans, we thank and salute the membership for selecting the agency as the most recent recipient of their philanthropy.

To learn more, visit 100mennapa.org.

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Pathway Home reinvents itself to help Veterans Struggling in College

Pathway Home reinvents itself to help Veterans Struggling in College

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Howard Yune

February 28, 2016 (Yountville, CA) – Nearly half a year after it suspended operations, leaders of The Pathway Home in Yountville are organizing a comeback – with a new focus on helping those struggling to shift from military service to civilian college life.

The program had treated about 450 returning veterans with combat-related metal stress, but difficulty with raising money—more than $1 million per year—caused the board to stop accepting new veterans last fall and look at new ways to make the project sustainable.

Now a new team, including members of the Pathway board, state and federal veterans’ agencies, and Napa Valley College, hope to revive the therapy program by the end of 2016, organizers said. Plans call for the home to house clients in leased space at the Veterans Home of California, where Pathway operated from 2008 to 2015, and to partner with NVC in offering support services at the Napa campus, with help from staff from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.

The focus on bringing veterans’ aid to campus could become Pathway’s road to the future as it seeks to make its services sustainable for the long haul, and possibly create a model for other therapy programs – and colleges – to copy.

From its opening eight years ago, Pathway set a new course for treating veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, providing intensive inpatient treatment for up to four months at a time under the guidance of other veterans. But despite millions of dollars in donations, the program struggled to pay for itself, eventually halving its original 30-person capacity before going on hiatus in September.

In rebooting the therapy program, directors are aiming to use the expertise of other agencies while reaching out to clients trying to use college as their path to a stable civilian life.

Pathway clients would room at Pathway’s leased space at the Veterans Home’s Madison Hall, then travel by van to NVC for classes, according to Oscar de Haro, the school’s vice president of student services.

At the college, students would have access to a collection of counseling, tutoring and other services, according to Keith Armstrong, who directs the VA’s satellite clinic at City College of San Francisco. The federal agency would supply a mental health counselor to work with student clients both at the college and at Pathway in Yountville.

Enrollment in a renewed Pathway has not been set, but Armstrong suggested the program could accommodate between 10 and 20 veterans initially.

The expanded support program proposed at NVC is modeled after similar veterans’ centers the VA’s Bay Area division already runs at other two-year institutions, he said. By combining VA staffing with NVC’s existing veterans’ services, it would parallel the San Francisco City College program’s melding of psychotherapy, social work and medication management with more focused aid in finding housing, getting health care through the VA system, writing resumes, and other tasks.

Bringing the safety net close to the classroom can be the difference that lets more veterans attain a stable life while at their most vulnerable, Armstrong predicted.

“The idea is to provide a one-stop shopping model so that people can get their services while they’re at school, and decrease the stress of juggling work, school, family life and VA appointments,” he said Tuesday.

Veterans studying at NVC already are exempted from the college’s $46-per-unit fee. In addition, those being treated through Pathway likely could use housing stipends from the GI Bill to pay for their stays at the Yountville home, according to Patti Morgan, the school’s dean of financial aid.

Additional support may come from reimbursements by the VA for veterans who enter work-study programs while signing up for at least nine units of courses, said Lynette Cortes, veterans’ services specialist for the college.

Any steps to help pick up expenses are vital in reviving a program that cost about $1.2 million per year in its original form, according to Mike Horak, Pathway’s director of administration and development.

Pathway got its launch funding from a private $5.6 million grant delivered through the Tides Center, a donor fund based in San Francisco. But after working through its seed money, the home was forced to rely mostly on local fundraising in the absence of reimbursement from the VA or Tricare, the federal health system for military personnel, retirees and dependent.

“While the Napa Valley is a generous community, when you looked at the grand scheme of things, we only have a small building and the ability to bring in only so many people at one time,” Horak said. “It was a highly expensive program to operate, and we weren’t necessarily able to attract (donors) with a broad perspective.”

Since graduating its last class of clients Sept. 17, Pathway’s board has continued its fundraising and garnered about $417,000. Its lease at the Veterans Home will remain in force through the end of 2017, he said.

An 11-member volunteer committee with representatives from the VA, Veterans Home and the state Department of Veterans Affairs is advising Pathway in its transition to campus-based aid. The committee also includes Veterans Home administrator Don Veverka, Tug McGraw Foundation co-founder Jennifer Brusstar and psychology professors from UC San Francisco, among others.

Ultimately, according to Horak, Pathway leaders hope to create a system that other colleges can emulate in order to spread the benefits to returning veterans elsewhere in the Bay Area.

Armstrong, of the VA’s San Francisco division, hoped The Pathway Home’s return will point the way to greater teamwork.

“You want to help veterans use the GI Bill wisely, to graduate as quickly as they can to four-year schools or vocational training,” said Armstrong, of the VA’s San Francisco division. “If we can provide academic and mental health counseling under one umbrella, these people will have a better opportunity to succeed. That’s the mutual goal of the state, the Veterans Home, Pathway and the VA.

“Maybe it’s an example of the future of partnerships, the idea that the VA can’t do it alone and the community can’t do it alone,” he said. “It’s within these partnerships that veterans will benefit.”

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Military’s care for people with PTSD and depression falls short

Military’s care for people with PTSD and depression falls short

Another feature in our ongoing effort to keep our web-based family engaged and informed.

This article entitled, Military’s care for people with PTSD and depression falls short, from The Washington Post is an interesting and informative read. 

 

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What Does a Parrot Know about PTSD?

What Does a Parrot Know about PTSD?

We always encourage our reader to enjoy thought provoking and interesting stories and this one fits the bill.  Please have a read and enjoy this piece from the New York Times Magazine. 

What Does a Parrot Know about PTSD?

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Improvements In Progress – Part 2

Improvements In Progress – Part 2

This weekend, volunteers from IBEW Local 180, US Army Warrant Officers Association – Mare Island Chapter, Bethany Lutheran Ministries, The Veterans Home of California – Yountville, Chapter 694 – American Legion Riders and the US Army Reserve Ambassador returned to The Pathway Home to pitch in and nearly complete several significant projects at our facility. These folks are the epitome of teamwork.  These amazing folks dubbed this a weekend of “Veterans Helping Veterans” and we could not be more grateful.

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Add Tears of a Warrior to your reading list…

Add Tears of a Warrior to your reading list…

IMG_3271The Pathway Home had the privilege of recently spending time with Janet and Tony Seahorn talking about the agency’s future. They graciously gifted us with multiple copies of their book, Tears of a Warrior, now in its 4th edition. If you haven’t heard of or yet read it, we highly encourage you to do so.

“This book is a godsend for PTSD sufferers. Written in a clear and readable style, it combines solid research and personal stories to provide an accurate description of the disorder and practical advice on what to do and when and where to seek help. I highly recommend this book to anyone impacted or desiring more knowledge of PTSD.”Pat Wolfe, Ed.D. International consultant and author on brain research and learning.

You can obtain a copy at www.tearsofawarrior.com.

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Our Thanks!

Our Thanks!

On behalf of The Pathway Home Board of Directors, staff and today’s veterans, we would like to express our sincere thanks to those who participated in the 2015 Napa Valley Give!Guide campaign.

Your generosity helped us to raise over $10,000 and we are grateful for the support.

Thank you and Happy New Year!

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A Veterans Day News Flash

A Veterans Day News Flash

The Pathway Home Announces Partnership Negotiations with Veterans Home of California‐Yountville & San Francisco Veterans Affairs Healthcare System

National Oversight Program Committee Includes Thought‐Leaders in Veterans Affairs and Mental Health

Yountville, CA – November 11, 2015 The Pathway Home, (TPH) a nonprofit residential center on the grounds of the Veterans Home in Yountville, CA, which treats our nation’s Operation New Dawn, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other post-­‐combat challenges, today announced a significant step forward in developing a partnership agreement with the Veterans Home of California-­‐Yountville (VHC) and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Healthcare System (SFVAHCS) to set forth a shared understanding of each agency’s respective roles and responsibilities in meeting the mental health needs and overall well-­‐being of California veterans.

“The physical and mental health issues our veterans are facing when they come home from deployment are a national public health crisis that affects not only our veterans, but also their families and communities they live in,” said Pathway Home Board Chair, Dorothy Salmon. “We are excited to move forward in building a partnership with the VHC and SFVAHCS to enhance TPH’s operations as a supportive residential program for our veterans. Collaborating with veteran serving organizations is a win-­‐win for all, as we share talent and resources to stretch far beyond what we can do alone.”

Together the innovative one-­‐of-­‐a-­‐kind program will address the mental and physical health needs of California veterans and facilitate the academic achievement and community re-­‐ integration of those enrolled in local community colleges, universities and vocational training programs. This next phase of the program is right in line with TPH’s mission to provide the respect, guidance, and support our military veterans deserve and need to successfully complete educational programs, obtain employment, and build and maintain healthy personal relationships with family and community.

“The Veterans Home of California, Yountville has been faithfully serving veterans since 1884,” said Don Veverka, Administrator of the Veterans Home of California, Yountville. “The complexities of defending our country are changing and so are treatment modalities to care for our wounded warriors. Pathway Home has been a pioneer in meeting these needs. Working collectively with a distinguished committee of specialists in the field of post-­‐traumatic stress and student veteran health, positions Pathway Home to be a preeminent state of the art provider. The future is now and Yountville is eager to support the mission to heal the wounds of our warriors who make it possible to fly the flag of freedom.”

The leadership at TPH and VHC-­‐Yountville, combined with the research and clinical expertise of the SFVAHCS in the provision of services to student veterans, has the potential to produce a state-­‐of-­‐the-­‐art program, possibly impacting how best to deliver best-­‐practice services across the nation.

The Pathway Home National Advisory Committee includes:

  • Keith Armstrong, LCSW-­‐SFVA Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCSF
  • Mike Brown, Recovery Care Coordinator at Armed Forces Services Corp (AFSC)
  • Jennifer Brusstar, CEO and Co-­‐Founder of The Tug McGraw Foundation
  • Anthony Collins, Pathway Home Graduate, Veteran Advocate
  • Jessica Gundy Cuneo, PhD Research Health Science Specialist and Clinical Psychologist, VA San Diego
  • Kim Mitchell, President Easter Seals Dixon Center
  • John McQuaid, PhD, Professor of Clinical Psychology UCSF; Associate Chief, Mental Health, SFVAHCS
  • Carie Rodgers, PhD, ABPP Associate Director, Education and Dissemination, VA Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health, and TPH National Advisory Committee Chair
  • Diane Vanderpot, Under Secretary (Ret) of CDVA
  • Donald Veverka, Administrator, California Veterans Home, Yountville
  • Mary Winnefeld, Military Advocate

John Dunbar, Mayor of Yountville, and a Pathway Board Member commented, “I’m proud of the role the Napa Valley community has played in The Pathway Home since 2008. Partnering with national experts in the veteran services world, as well as our State and Federal legislators, will allow Pathway to extend its reach and continue to provide support for our veterans and their families through this life-­‐saving treatment program.”

About The Pathway Home

The Pathway Home (TPH), headquartered on the grounds of the Veterans Home in Yountville, CA, is a nonprofit residential treatment facility serving our nation’s Operation New Dawn (OND; September 2010 -­‐ December 2011), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF; 2003 -­‐ 2011), and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF; 2001 -­‐ current) veterans.

Through comprehensive cutting-­‐edge therapy, TPH treats current and former service members with post-­‐ traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and other post-­‐combat challenges. The Pathway Home embraces a wide community of leaders, businesses, and other non-­‐profit organizations that band together to embrace and assist our heroes by providing the respect, guidance, and support that each veteran needs to rebound from combat or other challenging military experiences, and to help them realize they are needed and valued members here at home.

About The Veterans Home of California-­‐Yountville

Located in the heart of scenic Napa Valley, the Veterans Home of California-­‐Yountville (VHC-­‐Yountville) is a community of and for veterans. Founded in 1884, VHC-­‐Yountville is the largest veterans’ home in the United States, offering residential accommodations with a wealth of recreational, social, and therapeutic activities for independent living. Some 1,000 aged or disabled veterans (both men and women) or World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom now live at the home.

About the San Francisco VA Health Care System

The San Francisco VA Health Care System is a comprehensive network that provides health services to veterans through the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC) and six community-­‐based outpatient clinics in Santa Rosa, Eureka, Ukiah, Clearlake, San Bruno and downtown San Francisco. It has a long history of conducting cutting-­‐edge research, establishing innovative medical programs, and providing compassionate care to Veterans. SFVAMC has 124 operating beds and a 120-­‐bed Community Living Center. There is a specialized homeless veterans clinic in downtown San Francisco.

Media Contact:

Tara L. Biller can be reached at (615) 829-9440 or via email TaraLBiller@gmail.com

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