Last updated: May 12. 2014 10:46AM - 178 Views
Thomas Crisp Contributing Columnist

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Four Department of Veterans Affairs researchers were among the 102 recipients of the 2012 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers honored at a ceremony held April 14. The PECASE is the highest honor conferred by the U.S. government on federal researchers in the early stages of their careers.

Joining fellow award recipients from 11 other federal agencies and institutes as well as the intelligence community were VA investigators Dr. Karunesh Ganguly, San Francisco VA Medical Center; Dr. Brian P. Head, VA San Diego Healthcare System; Dr.Katherine M. Iverson, VA Boston Healthcare System; and Dr.Hardeep Singh, Michael E. Debakey (Houston) VA Medical Center. The ceremony took place at the White House.

Ganguly was recognized for his work on human learning vs. machine learning. His efforts to develop brain-machine interfaces — a technology that promises to enable those with permanent disabilities to control prosthetics — will improve the function and quality of life of Veterans and others following spinal cord injury, stroke, or amputation.

Iverson was honored for her studies regarding intimate partner violence (IPV) among women veterans. Her work regarding the clinical importance of IPV screening has provided a foundation for better IPV detection and treatment and has informed emerging VA policy and Head was nominated for research that may soon lead to gene therapies that treat a variety of nervous system disorders.

His work holds great promise for helping those with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, patients recovering from stroke, and Veterans with traumatic brain injury.

Singh was nominated for studies using VA electronic medical data to improve patient safety and healthcare quality. In addition to developing novel methods for reducing diagnostic errors by alerting health professionals to abnormal test results, he has worked toward improved detection and understanding of patient safety issues in the VA outpatient setting.

Established in 1996, the awards are given each year for “innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology” and a commitment to community service. VA, which has the largest integrated health care system in the country, also has one of the largest medical research programs.

“Keeping the Promise,” “Fulfill their Trust” and “No one left behind” are several of many mottos that refer to the efforts of the Department of Defense to recover those who became missing while serving our nation. The number of Americans who remain missing from conflicts in this century are: World War II (73,000+), Korean War (7,921), Cold War (126), Vietnam War (1,642), 1991 Gulf War (0), and OEF/OIF (6). Over 600 Defense Department men and women — both military and civilian — work in organizations around the world as part of DoD’s personnel recovery and personnel accounting communities.

They are all dedicated to the single mission of finding and bringing our missing personnel home. For a listing of all personnel accounted for since 2007 refer to www.dtic.mil/dpmo/accounted_for. For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call or call (703) 699-1169. the remains of the following MIA/POW’s have been recovered, identified, and scheduled for burial since the publication of the last RAO Bulletin:

Family members seeking more information about missing loved ones may call the following Service Casualty Offices: U.S. Air Force (800) 531-5501, U.S. Army (800) 892-2490, U.S. Marine Corps (800) 847-1597, U.S. Navy (800) 443-9298, or U.S. Department of State (202) 647-5470.

Many veterans returning to the U.S. from stints overseas have years of job experience under their belts, yet they feel daunted by the challenge of making the transition into the civilian workforce. Often they’ve put in five, ten or more years in the field but they don’t have college degrees.

While they may have driven heavy equipment, supervised troops, worked as medics or done computer programming, they’re not sure how to apply those skills in the civilian world.

According to Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com, a career information and job listing website owned by Adicio, a company that makes classified advertising software, as many as 100 veterans send emails to CareerCast each month asking for help with their job search.

CareerCast has found that most veterans are more qualified than they realize for well-paying jobs, ranging from training and development manager (average annual salary: $95,400) to construction project manager ($82,800). At the same time, says Lee, many employers don’t realize that vets are great job candidates.

To help job-seeking veterans zero in on appropriate jobs and to alert potential employers of the roles veterans are most likely to fill successfully, CareerCast put together a list at http://veteran.careercast.com/article/best-jobs-veterans-2014 of the 10 best jobs for veterans. In compiling it, CareerCast drew on data from its annual best and worst listing (www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/best-worst-jobs-2013) which ranks 200 jobs according to more than 100 criteria.

It also did its own evaluation of skills and experience vets are likely to bring to a job and tried to match that with fields where there is high demand, like truck driving. According to one report from the American Trucking Association, the field needs to recruit some 100,000 new drivers a year to keep up with demand.

While the demand for truck drivers is high, the pay is not, according to CareerCast, with average annual compensation at just $38,200. Four jobs on the list have “manager” in the title since many veterans have worked supervising troops in the field or on the base. Many have also done legal work, software programming and emergency medical work.

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