National advocate for wounded troops to speak in Tampa

Lee Woodruff is a rock star in the military community especially among those who have followed her husband Bob’s amazing journey to recovery after the convoy he was in was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2006.  The ABC News co-anchor and reporter was on assignment in Taji, Iraq, about 12 miles north of Baghdad when he suffered severe head injuries and wounds to his upper body.

A national advocate for wounded servicemembers and their families, Lee will be in Tampa on March 10, 2011 to speak at a special conference for family and professional caregivers of polytrauma patients.

Lee Woodruff, author and co-founder of The Bob Woodruff Foundation and

Just a few weeks after my husband Rex returned from Afghanistan we got a call from the American Red Cross Tampa Bay Chapter asking if Rex could participate in this special conference. He immediately agreed and we’ve been helping out with organizing the conference ever since; Rex will serve as the event emcee. Now that event, the Second Annual Pathways to Resilience Caregivers Conference, is almost here offering various sessions and special presentations about intimacy, spirituality, coping and the reality of caregiving. The event is sponsored by the James A. Haley VA Hospital, the University of South Florida and the American Red Cross Tampa Bay chapter along with the very active American Red Cross student club at USF.

Lee co-wrote the best-selling book “In an Instant” with her husband Bob. This book is a compelling and at times quite funny description of her family’s journey to recovery. Along the way she and her husband started The Bob Woodruff Foundation (for more go to, a national nonprofit that helps ensure the nation’s injured servicemembers, veterans and their families return to a homefront ready to support them. One the organization’s key goals is to educate the public about the needs of injured service members, veterans and their families as they reintegrate into their communities. Lee speaks to groups nationwide to raise awareness of traumatic brain injury and the sacrifices of our military and their families. And her husband Bob is back to work at ABC News and frequently covers the military in his critically acclaimed series Woodruff Reports.

This daylong conference will be held at the Marshall Student Center ballroom at the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus on March 10, 2011. To sign up, please follow this link.

Why have the conference in Tampa? Because Tampa is home to the James A. Haley VA Hospital where some of the nation’s most severely wounded servicemembers come to seek treatment at the Tampa Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center. It’s one of just four specialty facilities designed to provide intensive rehabilitative care to veterans and servicemembers who experienced severe injuries (including brain injuries) to more than one organ system.

Polytrauma is defined as two or more injuries sustained in the same incident that affect multiple body parts or organ systems and result in physical, cognitive, psychological, or psychosocial impairments and functional disabilities. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) frequently occurs as part of the polytrauma spectrum in combination with other disabling conditions, such as amputations, burns, pain, fractures, auditory and visual impairments, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health conditions. When present, injury to the brain is often the impairment that dictates the course of rehabilitation due to the nature of the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral deficits related to TBI.

White House Initiative for Military Family Support

Maj. Janet Schoenberg, Space Operations Office...

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Improved childcare, career development and enhanced mental health benefits for military families are just a few of the 50 commitments the White House is making to military families.

Here’s what Spouse Buzz has to say about the initiative and a article.

Below is the Presidential press release on the Military Family Support initiative:


President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Dr. Jill Biden put forward today nearly 50 commitments by Federal agencies responding to the President’s directive to establish a coordinated and comprehensive Federal approach to supporting military families.  Strengthening Our Military Families:  Meeting America’s Commitment is the result of an effort led by the National Security Staff and Domestic Policy Council responding to the Presidential Study Directive-9 calling on all Cabinet Secretaries and other agency heads to find better ways to provide our military families with the support they deserve.  The result will be a unified Federal Government approach to help ensure:

·         the U.S. military recruits and retains America’s best, allowing it to maintain the high standards which have become a hallmark of our armed forces.

·         Service members can maintain both strong families and a high state of readiness;

·         family members can live fulfilling lives while supporting their service member(s); and

·         the American people better understand and appreciate the experience, strength, and commitment of those who serve and sacrifice on their behalf.

This document provides the Federal Government’s response to that challenge by identifying four strategic priorities that address the primary challenges facing our military families.

1.  Enhance the well-being and psychological health of the military family.

2. Ensure excellence in military children’s education and their development.

3. Develop career and educational opportunities for military spouses.

4. Increase child care availability and quality for the Armed Forces.

These four priorities were identified with special attention to the feedback that the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, and Administration officials have received from the many service members and their families they have encountered over the past two years.  They address the concerns and challenges of the families of Active Duty and Reserve Component Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard members; Veterans; and those who have fallen.  Each Cabinet Secretary pledged to continue to communicate these priorities, share expertise, and establish sustainable solutions through leveraging partnerships.

This report identifies partnerships that expand capacity and quality of services in a fiscally responsible way.

·         Health and Human Services (HHS) has partnered with the Department of Defense (DoD) to best confront suicide trends within military family and Veteran populations, to normalize preventive training and peer-level counseling to best treat psychological needs of our military families, and expand access and quality of child care resources.

·         Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, Labor and HHS have teamed to achieve the aggressive goal of unqualified elimination of homelessness by 2015.

·         DoD, Labor, Commerce, and the Small Business Administration are committed to collaboratively engaging corporate America and expanding career opportunities for military spouses.

·         Department of Agriculture (USDA) will expand its already rich history of cooperation with the military by co-hosting the Family Resilience Summit in 2011 with DoD and maximizing USDA’s reach to military communities across rural America through its cooperative extension network.

This report elevates the need for more awareness on the challenges facing military families and in turn generates more effective use of government resources and across society.

·         The Department of Education will make supporting military families one of its supplemental priorities for its discretionary grant programs.  This priority, when applied, will, for the first time ever, favor grant applications to meet the needs of military students.   Education has also made accessing and processing of financial aid more tailored to military families and more sensitive to the financial fluctuations of Guard and Reserve personnel.

·         HHS is aggressively promoting awareness across its service provider networks, the media industry, and professional medical organizations on military culture and psychological health of our service members, their spouses and their children.

·         The Treasury Department is establishing an Office of Service Member Affairs, led by Holly Petraeus, under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to help educate and protect military families from predatory lending and harmful consumer practices.

This report demonstrates how innovation and sharing best practices can generate resources and reduce barriers.

·         The Department of the Interior is making available its facilities on their 500+ million acres of Federal lands to military families for recovery, reintegration, and youth employment.

·         Treasury, Transportation, Homeland Security, and DoD are accelerating efforts to bring down professional licensing barriers to promote competitive career advancement across states on par with civilian advancement.

This report also serves as a springboard to highlight the military families’ contributions as a national and community resource and identifies opportunities to leverage more of the skills, experience, and capacity of military family members.  Additionally, this overall effort endeavors to strengthen existing feedback mechanisms for military families to voice their concerns and opinions, their unique challenges, the effectiveness of existing programs, and their input on the future direction of related Federal programs and policies.

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