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Meet Our National Board:

This quarter, the USVH Board has made a tremendous effort towards National expansion, promotion of Veterans issues, and generating an influx of newcomer volunteers this quarter. Below are the profiles of the current National USVH Board:

Leslie Johnson, National President
I am a current senior majoring in Human Biology with a concentration in Psychosocial Development. At Stanford I am a tutor, a member of the Memorial Church choir, and a volunteer for Pacific Free Clinic. My job in USVH consists of recruiting new chapters of United Students for Veterans’ Health across the nation and facilitating their development. I am passionate about the growth of USVH because I have had a wonderful time getting to know the veterans at the VA. I have learned so much from the relationships that I have formed in my time volunteering. The veterans have taught me to live more fully and laugh more often. I love to play sand volleyball, eat chocolate, and go hiking in my free time!

Mingqian (Shelly) Xie, National Vice President
Hello! My name is Mingqian(Shelly) Xie, and I am a jsenior. I am the National Vice President for USVH. I started volunteering for USVH since the autumn quarter of my freshmen year. I love volunteering with USVH because I think since recently so many programs and services target children or the younger generation, USVH really makes a difference for the elderly and especially veterans, who need not only medical support but also emotional support. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the veterans smile and open up after talking and visiting them.

Sam Birer, Stanford Chapter President
My name is Sam Birer, and I am the USVH Stanford Chapter President. If you are involved with USVH at Stanford, then I will be the guy sending you e-mail and doing my best to get you scheduled nicely. I am currently a junior studying chemistry, and I hope to someday earn my MD. I'm also a local boy, and I have a lot of family in the Bay Area. My grandpa is actually a frequent patient at the Menlo Park VA! The best part of USVH for me is the pride in giving back to a community that has done so much for us.

Brittany Beavers, Special Events Coordinator !
I volunteer at USVH because I love to chat and am interested in psychiatry in the future. I believe it's important to volunteer to help our society. I just hope to make someone's day a little bit brighter! My potential major is in Human Biology. I attend RUF, participate in a small group on campus, and am a member of the Pi Beta Phi fraternity for women. I also love to read and love watching movies when I have free time!

Liz Melton, Director of Issues and Advocacy !
At times, the mental and physical health of the elderly veteran population tends to be neglected. By volunteering at USVH, I feel that I am making an extremely small donation of compassion for those who have given up so much for all of us--an act which is a necessary "thank you" to our brave and honorable former soldiers. I am a Human Biology major currently in my Junior year, with a concentration in The Epidemiology of Infectious Disease. Although I am chiefly focused on my pre-medical career, I also hold leadership posts as: Co-Director of Henry’s Place (scientific learning amongst low-income elementary school students), VP of Administration of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority, Head Intern for non-profit Upendo Village, and was formerly a member of Stanford University’s Sailing Team, as well as a National and International Figure Skating competitor for 12 years.

Jeremy Klepner, Financial Officer
I am currently a junior pre-med psychology major. Primarily I work in USVH in order to develop meaningful relationships with senior veterans but I also work to attain funding for current USVH chapters and in order to facilitate the funding of future chapters. Volunteering at USVH will not only improve the lives of veterans but will offer insight into the daily lives of people who live with psychiatric conditions, as I am interested in geriatrics lifespan development in the future. I am a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and a member of the Men’s Varsity Fencing team. I have been a sabre fencer for 8 years during which I have competed in multiple Junior Olympic competitions, and medaled at North American Cups. I really enjoy playing baseball and ATV riding in my free time.

Quarter Events, Volunteering, and National Recruitment:

Veterans Day Barbeque: II/II/II

“Professor of political science Larry Diamond ’73 M.A. ’78 Ph.D. ’80 spoke and said that separation between America’s civilian and military life can be “dangerous for a democracy.” He said the day not only honors the sacrifice of service members but is also a reminder of the need to heal the wedge between these two spheres. Around 56 people attended the barbeque, according to Tim Hsia, a law student and former U.S. Army Infantry Captain. He called this a “good number” and commented that the veterans’ clubs at Stanford’s law and business schools were holding similar events at the same time and that he hoped to consolidate their efforts next year. Colonel Joseph Felter, a senior research fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), spoke at the barbeque. “This is just a time of tremendous sacrifice,”

Felter said. “I think no one here is oblivious to that, but I think our country unfortunately might be in ‘Planet Palo Alto’ sometimes, a little insulated from that incredible sacrifice that’s going on. There’s war going on, and people are in harm’s way.”

VA Hospital Events

This quarter was outstanding in the number of events put on by the Special Events Coordinator, Brittany Beavers, consisting of:
  • Veterans Day Barbeque: II/II/II

  • Car and Bike Show – II/6/II
o Car and bike staging – touring of the vehicles with Veterans
o Color Guard performances
o BBQ lunch
o Raffle
o Grand Parade Exit

  • Christmas Caroling – 12/3/11
  • Card-making parties
USVH kicked off the new academic year on a high note, bringing back countless experienced volunteers and added an amazing near fifty new members to our volunteering staff! As always, new volunteers range in age from Freshmen to Coterms, and, on the whole, we have received very positive feedback from both our newcomers and longtime USVH members about their experiences at the Menlo Park VA. We are looking to build on the success of Fall Quarter, and beyond, by scheduling volunteer shifts over Winter Break so as to simplify and expedite the volunteer process. !

National Recruitment
Lately, we have remained in close contact with our old, existing chapters, while simultaneously seeking out new, enthused students from college campuses around the country to start new chapters of USVH. Specifically, we have been focused on Smith College. We have potential leaders at this school, and have garnered funds to offer Seed Grants for other chapters in the near future. Additionally, we are in touch with a wide range of other Texas, East Coast, and greater California Bay Area schools—all of which have students ready to commence USVH at their university! Continuing our USVH advertising, we’ve created a Facebook page, blog, updated and improved website (usvh.org), and OrgSync profile (Stanford University’s Student Organization social networking site).
Excerpts From Chapter Presidents:

Worchester USVH:
“We at WUSVH have made significant progress over the past few months. We established a board of directors for our chapter right from the beginning, and we are currently looking for more volunteers to recruit. Our main site of volunteering has been at Veteran's Inc. in Worcester, MA. Through Veteran's Inc, we have helped our veterans in several ways, primarily through lunch serving and site maintenance. After the effects of Hurricane Irene, WUSVH members helped one of Veteran's Inc's outreach centers by clearing fallen branches on the property and clearing the parking lot of weeds. Lunch serving has been a big part of our volunteering; WUSVH members have served lunch to the veterans at Veteran's Inc. several times over the past few months.” ~Evan Maranto

University of Texas at Austin USVH:
“The University of Texas at Austin chapter of United Students for Veterans’ Health has, in one short semester, established itself as a prominent veterans’ organization on campus. With a six student executive board, eighteen general members (a pool that continues to grow!), and a strong partnership with the Student Veterans Association, we have undertaken a rewarding challenge; USVH is coordinating with the Dean of Students to help bring into existence the first UT Student Veterans Center, scheduled to open on Veterans’ Day 2011. USVH was involved in the official hiring process for the SVC’s managing board and labored with advocacy groups to raise over $2,000 for the new center. USVH has touched me personally by serving as a bridge to a wonderful group of veterans, both on and off of the UT campus, whom I otherwise may not have had the pleasure of meeting. As an ex-Yugoslavian war refugee who immigrated to the United States with the help of American and NATO troops in the mid 90’s, I have a great deal of respect for the veterans who sacrifice so much in the call of duty. Although my involvement with USVH has only begun to flourish, I am confident that the years to come will be filled with meaningful work and service for our veterans.” ~Damir Ljuboja

Topics of Interest – From the Director of Issues and Advocacy

Every few weeks, I posted relevant updates of Veterans Health in the News to our OrgSync and Facebook pages. Listed are all the recently uploaded articles, with the first detailing a new, frugal way for VA hospitals to purchase medical supplies:


This second article highlights "Team VA"-- bicyclists riding to provide funds for further MS research:


This third article highlights Stephanie Devic, a former veteran who now has a multifaceted career as a chef and teacher of healthy food preparation. Please take a moment today to thank someone who served--they have sacrificed so much:


For the many of you who are keen on becoming healthcare professionals, this article may be of interest. Exposing the staggering number of Veterans who suffer from chronic diabetes, the piece also reveals the immense cost--both to the health of diabetic veterans, and the monetary standing of VA hospitals: http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/20111115a.asp

Check out this article detailing the win of an Iraq Veteran on Dancing With the Stars--it is extremely exciting that a veteran is in the media limelight:

Hopefully this post finds you thoroughly enjoying the beginning of your (well-deserved) holiday break!!This is just a tidbit about the nursing home/geriatric care available at hospitals and Community Living Centers throughout the country--perhaps you could offer some free time over this Winter Break to aid our veterans (since you are officially registered and able to volunteer at any VA hospital in the US):

**Have a delightful break, everyone, and don't forget to signup on Sam's Googledoc for shifts next quarter!**


Can YOU Contribute?

Have any questions, suggestions, or comments about volunteering, special events, or veterans’ healthcare?
our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/2200026272/
or our OrgSync Stanford Homepage https://orgsync.com/44813/chapter
to find all the contact information you need to join our team! Want to contribute to this newsletter with your own works, poems, drawings, or photographs inspired by your veterans? Want to raise awareness to interesting issues related to veterans’ healthcare?
Contact Liz Melton (Director of Issue and Advocacy) at lmelton@stanford.edu if you would like to submit your contributions or suggestion to improve the newsletter.