Friday, April 12, 2013

[413] April 15 health care, education benefits event at MTSU targets women veterans

For release:  April 11, 2013

News and Media Relations contacts: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or
and Jimmy Hart, 615-898-5131 or

VA/Tennessee Valley Healthcare contact: Chris Conklin, 615-225-4690 or 

MURFREESBORO — More than one in 10 military veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan is a woman.

And more than 57 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan women veterans have received Veterans Affairs health care (almost 43 percent have not). Of the 57-plus percent, 89.8 percent have used VA health care more than once.

Middle Tennessee State University and the Department of Veteran Affairs Tennessee Valley Healthcare System are partnering an event to attract women veterans who may not know about health and educational benefits. It will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, April 15, in the Keathley University Center Theater on the MTSU campus.

The event will honor and recognize women veterans through a documentary screening and informational session on VA health care and education benefits.

“Women veterans are encouraged to attend April 15 at the KUC to learn more about their VA benefits,” said Chris Conklin, a spokesman for the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System.

“Veterans who attend this event will have the opportunity to not only see what their education benefits are, but how the they can take advantage of all the benefits they have earned through their service, including health benefits,” Conklin added. “Women veterans in particular also will have the chance to see what services are available specifically for them in regards to health care at VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System.”

In addition to the previously mentioned data, Conklin said nearly 51 percent of female veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who used VA care during fiscal years 2002 to 2011 were born in or after 1970 compared to nearly 48 percent of the male Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

Sue Downes, who is featured in the documentary “Service: When Women Come Marching Home,” will be the keynote speaker. The documentary highlights the struggles and triumphs of returning home as a combat-wounded woman veteran.

Downes, a driver and gunner while serving in Afghanistan, had to have both legs amputated below the knee after her Humvee hit landmines in 2005. She will take part in a question-and-answer session during the event with other veterans in attendance.

Women veterans attending the event will see a free viewing of the documentary and have the opportunity to talk to staff from the VA and MTSU on how to maximize available education and health care benefits, plus register for VA health care.

MTSU officials are welcoming women veterans from throughout the Midstate and those who attend community colleges in the area to provide information regarding educational benefits and how they can apply these benefits.

Veteran advisers from MTSU’s VetSuccess on Campus office will be at the program to provide information.

The event is open to the public and all women veterans and their families in Middle Tennessee. For more information on the event, contact Kim Holden at 615-225-5535 or Cathy Kirchner at 615-898-5814.

MTSU is the only Tennessee university selected by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for a “VetSuccess on Campus” program. It also has been named a military-friendly institution for three years in a row by G.I. Jobs magazine.

To learn more about the MTSU VetSuccess on Campus program, call 615-898-2974.

For more information about VA TVHS, visit

To learn more about the documentary, visit

Media welcomed. A printable campus map is available at

       MTSU is committed to developing a community devoted to learning, growth and service. We hold these values dear, and there’s a simple phrase that conveys them:  “I am True Blue.” Learn more at For MTSU news any time, visit

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