North Carolina AHEC Program
winter 2012 newsletter | home
AHEC Helps Families March Forward
The Second Annual Forward March: Moving Families Forward During Challenging Times, was held October 13 and 14, 2011, at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC. The program is a collaboration between the Partnership for Children of Cumberland County, Snyder Memorial Baptist Church, Southern Regional Area Health Education Center and other sponsors.
This community effort unifies the ties among professionals who serve military families throughout the Cape Fear region and focused on issues related to the treatment among the reserve and their families in the course of the deployment cycle, communicating with others about the death of a parent, and suicide prevention and awareness.
The program’s speakers represented a blend of national, state, and local expertise on the challenges of military families, including Barbara Marshall (photo right), featured in the season kickoff of the ABC television show, Extreme Makeover. She currently serves as the volunteer executive director and founder of Steps & Stages: Disabled Veterans Resource Agency, Inc. This agency provides transitional and permanent housing for homeless women veterans and their children.
Opening plenary speaker Army Surgeon General LTG Eric Schoomaker, PhD, MD, presented information on meeting the needs of military families in a community setting. Also, Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum, one of two American service-women taken prisoner in the 1991 Persian Gulf War against Iraq and Bronze Star recipient, spoke on the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program and how it integrates with community resources.
Over 240 substance abuse professionals, psychologists, social workers, case managers and counselors working in or around military communities attended the conference (photo below). As an outcome of their enthusiasm following the conference, a behavioral health association for local providers is in process of being established, according to John Bigger, Southern Regional AHEC administrator for Mental Health Continuing Education. “Because of the wealth of information provided, we have already met once to discuss future collaboration and action steps to accomplish goals of the association.”