Advocacy

Advocacy

Desert Wise is passionate about advocating for the military and veteran communities, and in our definition of advocacy, this can come in many forms (e.g., speaking engagements, articles, blogs, podcasts, books, educational workshops).

If you/your organization are interested in having our providers speak or are interested in collaborating with us, please use the contact form.

Note: We are most likely to agree to opportunities with events/organizations that: are apolitical/non-political, are well-organized, have a demonstrated history of integrity and good character, and promote ideas/interventions that are consistent with our practice and understanding of psychological science.

1st Annual Vet Connect Event 

September 2023: Desert Wise is a proud sponsor of New Mexico’s 1st annual Vet Connect event, which is hosted by Qualified Listeners. Our team will be staffing a booth to inform fellow veterans of our free substance use support group. Be sure to stop by on Saturday, September 16th at New Mexico Veteran’s Memorial (1100 Louisiana Blvd SE, ABQ).

Click here to download the Vet Connect flyer.

Free 8-week Substance Use Support Group

August 2023: Desert Wise clinicians have developed a Substance Use Support Group that they are offering free of charge to the Active Duty and Veteran communities. To learn more or to download a printable version of the flyer, select the link below.

Click here to download the support group flyer. 

US HR 2482: Accessibility of Mental Healthcare for Active Duty Service Members

Image: Seal of the US House of Representatives; public domain

May 2023: A bipartisan bill has been introduced to require the Secretary of Defense to conduct a DoD-wide study on the accessibility of mental healthcare services to active duty service members. We submitted a letter to the sponsor, co-sponsors, and our local representative to illuminate important issues in DoD mental healthcare accessibility that might otherwise be overlooked in the study.

Click here to read our letter regarding HR 2482.

VA Study on Stellate Ganglion Blocks for PTSD

March 2023: Research participation opportunity! We recently met with a VA research coordinator and learned of a SGB for PTSD research study being conducted at 6 VA locations across the country (i.e., VA Long Beach Healthcare System, Long Beach, CA; James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, Tampa, FL; Minneapolis VA Health Care System, Minneapolis, MN; VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, Salt Lake City, UT; White River Junction VA Medical Center, White River Junction, VT; William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison, WI). If you’d like to participate, click on the link or view the flyer below:

https://www.sgbforvets.com/#panel12

2022 Annual Veteran’s Advocate Award

November 2022: Stripes Biscuits and Burritos Co. is the 2022 recipient of our annual Veteran’s Advocate Award. Since opening its doors five years ago, Stripes has committed 15% of its proceeds to the VA Hospital in Albuquerque to provide enhanced support for local veterans. To date, Stripes has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the VA-H – a commitment which epitomizes the going-above-and-beyond requirement of our Veteran’s Advocate Award. Desert Wise is honored to recognize Stripes for its unyielding support of military veterans.  #VeteransDay2022

LGBTQ+ Panel

June 2022: Dr. Henrie was invited to be a guest speaker at Kirtland’s LGBTQ+ panel. She spoke from a clinical perspective about the intersection between LGBTQ+ identity & military identity, & she shared real world experiences of military journeys of LGBTQ+ service members across generations of service.

Image source: Kirtland AFB

Team Building Workshop

May 2022: We took our team to Houston to conduct a team building workshop at the PTSD Foundation & Camp Hope. We gave attendees an enhanced opportunity to experience one another’s stories, to see each other & been seen, & to viscerally recognize how much they have in common with their colleagues across the table. The Desert Wise team was enriched just as much as the Foundation & Camp Hope team!

(Aaron photoshopped in the attending team members that weren’t in the picture! #OneTeamOneFight)

2021 Trailblazer Award

November 2021: MSgt (Ret) Brian Hill was the sole inspiration for our new periodic award, which makes him the first ever recipient of Desert Wise’s Trailblazer Award! Mr. Hill single-handedly found a physician willing to administer novel treatments for veterans with PTSD, sponsored veterans who couldn’t afford the treatment, engineered a free informational website (https://sgbforvets.com), & is compiling a repository of physicians offering this treatment in various states. Mr. Hill’s ingenuity & perseverance inspires us all & exemplifies the ethos of veterans serving veterans. 👏👏👏🇺🇲🇺🇲 #VeteransServingVeterans

2021 Annual Veteran’s Advocate Award

November 2021: Cutter Aviation is the 2021 recipient of our annual Veteran’s Advocate Award. Cutter is dedicated to hiring Veterans, Reservists, & Guardsmen, & they also support the Veteran’s Airlift Command in transporting wounded service members. Their commitment to the military & veteran community pre-dates WWII. Still today, the Cutter team continuously goes above & beyond to roll out the red carpet when serving & supporting active & retired military. The Desert Wise team was honored to recognize Cutter Aviation for the quiet service they provide our nation’s protectors. #VeteransDay2021

DoD SkillBridge

October 2021: Desert Wise is now officially a DoD authorized industry partner for the SkillBridge program!! This will allow us to help existing mental health professionals transition from active duty service to the civilian workforce, & it will allow us to provide supervision to transitioning service members who are pursuing new careers in mental healthcare following their military service.

If you are a licensed mental health provider or pursuing a license in mental healthcare AND you’re motivated to serve our military members, veterans, & those who love them, check out what we have to offer at: https://www.desertwise.com/careers/

For more information about SkillBridge, visit: https://dodskillbridge.usalearning.gov/

DISCLAIMER OF ENDORSEMENT: The information provided in this story is for informational purposes only and neither constitutes nor implies any endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of any entity, product, service, or organization by the Department of Defense SkillBridge program or any part of the Department of Defense.

Stellate Ganglion Block

September 2021: Desert Wise has teamed up with fellow veteran, Brian Hill, and X2 Labs to develop and disseminate free information on the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) for PTSD.  SGB injections have shown promising benefits for many individuals who struggle with chronic PTSD by calming the physiological arousal associated with PTSD. We are excited to offer free educational information that has the potential to improve the quality of life for countless veterans living with PTSD. For more information, visit: https://www.sgbforvets.com/ 

NM SB119: PSYPACT

 

Image source: Uniformed Services University https://www.usuhs.edu/content/telehealth-mhs

February 2021: The military population we serve is disproportionately impacted by the mental healthcare barriers created by practice being limited to state boundaries. Our patients PCS, TDY, get put on ROM, etc. – all of which disrupt care. Our military members, veterans, and their loved ones all deserve high-quality, uninterrupted mental healthcare, and the providers serving them deserve to have the protections that are inherent to legitimized interstate telehealth services. New Mexico has introduced SB 119 for the 2021 legislative session, which would begin breaking down the barriers imposed by state boundaries. Our team fervently supports the passage of SB 119. We wrote the talking paper linked below, which we are submitting to all legislative committees considering SB 119. Join us in supporting SB 119 and in prioritizing reliable, patient-centered care for our service members!

Click here to read our team’s talking paper in support of SB 119.

PTSD Handouts

December 2020: In summer 2019, Dr. Henrie created approachable and informative handouts on PTSD. Too few know about the sweeping physical impacts of PTSD, and with these handouts, we hope to begin remedying that.

(Note: We authorize free public use of these handouts with appropriate source credit.)

Acknowledgement to MT Ault who cleaned up the handouts with with her Photoshop skills.

2020 Annual Veteran’s Advocate Award

November 2020: Every so often you come across a person who is quietly doing amazing things behind the scenes, & Albuquerque’s own Dr. Craig Nairn is one of those people. To date, he’s been the first & only physician in New Mexico willing to offer SGB injections to individuals living with PTSD. He’s worked many patients in on personal time to ensure they didn’t have to suffer through long wait times without treatment, & our patients tell us he’s one of the most amazing doctors they’ve met. In less than a year, Dr. Nairn has immeasurably changed the lives of dozens of local veterans…making him the sole inspiration for our new annual award: the Veteran’s Advocate Award. On the eve of Veteran’s Day 2020, we presented Dr. Nairn with his certificate & hardware. May we all be a little more like him.

Also, we salute a true trailblazer, Brian Hill, for believing local veterans deserved to have access to SGB treatments & single-handedly finding Dr. Nairn & connecting him with veterans who need his care.

Note: The annual Veteran’s Advocate Award was developed by Dr. Henrie while associated with Spire Group. To continue & honor the spirit of this effort, the award is now being managed by Desert Wise.

Partnership with The PTSD Foundation of America & Camp Hope 

August 2020: We couldn’t be more excited or humbled to announce our partnership with the PTSD Foundation of America & Camp Hope, whose mission it is to serve & heal veterans with PTSD. The Desert Wise team agreed to provide continuous trainings for The Foundation’s staff & volunteers, most of which are also military veterans. This is a match made in heaven! #Veterans #Military #FightingForOurBrotherhoodAndSisterhood #StopVeteranSuicides

Images property of PTSD Foundation of America

Learn about the PTSD Foundation by clicking here.

Kirtland AFB’s Life Fest

September 2019: Dr. Henrie was asked to host a booth at Kirtland AFB’s Life Fest to engage service members by promoting laughter, destigmatizing mental health, and providing relatable education. Our team had a blast interacting with the base population.

Military Cultural Competency Workshop

May 2019: With the help of some active duty allies, Dr. Henrie taught a Military Cultural Competency workshop to civilian mental health professionals at the New Mexico Psychological Association’s Saturday Seminar.

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