Veteran Community at National University continues to thrive
Over the years, National University has dedicated several resources to help veterans both in education and in patient care.
Yellow Ribbon Program
Since 2012, National University has been part of the Yellow Ribbon program, which helps veterans on the GI Bill pay tuition and fees for college and advanced degrees. In most cases, GI Bill tuition benefits do not cover all of a veteran’s education expenses. The Yellow Ribbon Program, however, provides 100 percent tuition coverage for qualified veterans.
Since the program began, National University has attracted an even larger student veteran community. This year, those students created a Veterans Club that was recently approved by the Student Veteran Association. All NUHS students are welcome to join the club to learn about veteran-related opportunities and how to treat the growing veteran population.
“To treat veterans, you have to be conscious of their background and their triggers like a certain smell or loud noise,” said Julia Antonelli, a current NUHS ND and DC student and Marine Corps. veteran, who serves as president of the Veterans Club.
The club plans to bring in speakers that can talk about their experiences working with the veteran population. In addition to private practitioners, the speakers will include those who have had internships at Veteran Affairs (VA) hospitals, like the Bay Pines VA Hospital in Florida. NUHS partnered with the hospital in 2014 to allow chiropractic interns to work at the hospital’s physical medicine and rehabilitation department.
“With the Bay Pines VA being so close to the Florida site, NUHS is extremely fortunate to offer this opportunity to our students,” said Daniel Strauss, DC, dean of the College of Professional Studies in Florida. “The internship is truly a rewarding experience for our students.”
In recent years, there has been a push to get more naturopathic and chiropractic physicians on staff at VA hospitals instead of being outsourced, according to Antonelli. She added that veterans are becoming more interested in natural, noninvasive medical approaches. “A lot of veterans are dependent on pills and realizing they are not addressing their health concerns,” she said.
The club is currently planning an upcoming event in conjunction with nonprofits The Wounded Warrior Project and The Patriot Project to help veterans receive more affordable or free alternative health care. The Patriot Project, founded by NUHS graduate Tim Novelli, DC, is made up of chiropractic physicians who treat at least one armed-service member a week at no charge.
Antonelli said the club also wants to do more community outreach to spread the word about the NUHS Veterans Clinic at the Illinois campus. Since 2009, the clinic has provided natural treatments for a variety of veteran-specific conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, musculoskeletal injuries and chronic pain. Last year, the clinic provided over 500 treatments at discounted rates to the local veteran community. Veterans receive acupuncture at no charge and a 20 percent discount on all other services.
Hyundo Franz Kim, PhD, MSOM, LAc, a chief clinician at the clinic, said veteran cases are usually more complicated with multiple conditions that are both physical and mental. Acupuncture for pain relief is popular alternative to opioid drugs, which can conflict with addiction.
“More veterans are being referred to the clinic from Hines VA hospital for all types of conditions including emotional issues,” Dr. Kim said. “Some MDs perform acupuncture on veterans but they cannot see them all. National University’s clinic, however, has the room to accommodate more.”
Since the clinic opened, veterans thankful for their care have created a board featuring photos and branch of service mementos currently on display in the clinic hallway.
“We are always looking to bring more veterans into the clinic to help them find natural solutions for their conditions,” Dr. Kim said.
To schedule an appointment at the clinic, call (630) 629-9664. For more information about the VA Club email NUHS.SVA@gmail.com.