About Us: Overview

THRIVE: A hospital outreach team,
Improving public health, one veteran at a time

The Health and Resource Initiative for Veterans Everywhere (THRIVE) of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) is an innovative, comprehensive, and state-of-theart program designed to provide outreach and services to our most vulnerable and underserved veterans. Many of these veterans are chronically homeless as a result of substance abuse, mental illness, medical illness, and other socioeconomic circumstances.

Overall, an estimated one-fourth of all U.S. homeless have served in the armed forces. In recent years, THRIVE has also expanded its scope to include outreach and services to OEF/OIF (Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom) veterans, many of whom upon their return, are struggling with medical and mental health issues. The goals of this program are to increase access to health care, establish continuity of care, and return thriving veterans to optimal independent living.

Collaboration

THRIVE is a remarkable partnership amongst multiple VA services, as well as community agencies. (See Figure 1) Within VA, members from mobile medical, homeless outreach, OEF/OIF, women’s outreach, and incarcerated veterans re-entry teams meet regularly for strategic planning, workload reporting, and problem solving.

Equally important are successful community partnershipswith the local homeless shelters, employment agencies, and county health clinics.

FIGURE 1: LINKING VETERANS TO THE COMMUNITY

Public Health Mission

THRIVE strives to improve the health and well-being of the vulnerable veteran community, one veteran at a time. Key to achieving this goal is the establishment of a medical outreach team, as well as organizing special events such as the South Bay Stand Down, both of which connect veterans to essential medical and psychosocial services. Grant funding from the Public Health Strategic Health Care Group (PHSHG) has further enhanced both of these efforts.

Source: Public Health Matters Newsletter of the VA Public Health Strategic Health Care Group. Issue 4, 3/2009

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