If you haven’t heard already, the word is out. Cohen Veterans Network is growing!
The latest expansion news happened last week when the Network opened its 11th clinic nationwide, and the first in Washington state, during grand opening activities on Friday, March 22 in Lakewood, Washington. Nearly 150 people from the area attended the full day of celebrations at The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Valley Cities, which included a morning press conference featuring local government officials, leaders and honored guests, as well as an afternoon panel discussion with members of the community.
The clinic was supported by honorable attendees at the grand opening ceremony, including Washington state First Lady Trudi Inslee, veteran and Washington state native Scotty Smiley, Congressman Denny Heck, State Senator Steve O’Ban, Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammier, as well as CVN CEO Dr. Anthony Hassan and Valley Cities CEO Shekh Ali. These leaders delivered congratulatory remarks at the morning ceremony, which was also attended by military and business community leaders.
During the grand opening, Clinic Director Nichole Ayres said: “Our team is uniquely positioned to serve the veteran community here in Lakewood, the Tacoma-area and throughout Washington. Many of my colleagues are veterans or members of military families who have had personal experiences with friends and family members in desperate need of mental health support. As a member of a military family myself, I have seen these issues firsthand, and I am thrilled to be part of a movement to expand availability to essential services, particularly given the alarming rate of suicides among veterans.”
The morning event was attended by a large contingent of news media, which led to coverage by outlets such as KIRO7, KING5, and the Tacoma News-Tribune.
The afternoon panel discussion, hosted by Caitlin Thompson, CVN’s Vice President of Community Partnerships, focused on access to mental health care in the Tacoma area. Panelists included: Jason Alves, Program Manager for the Washington State Department of Veteran Affairs Behavioral Health; Rebecca Wolf, Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the Army National Guard/ Joint Service Support; Monica McNeal, Regional Director for Four Block Veteran Career Services/ Gold Star Mom; Charles Wharton, AMVETS Post 1 Commander; and Shawn Durnen, Outreach Manager at the Cohen Clinic at Valley Cities.
As with CVN’s other clinics throughout the country, the Cohen Clinic at Valley Cities will offer comprehensive mental health services to Washington state’s many veterans and their family members, regardless of veteran discharge status or ability to pay. It will be able to serve 500 veterans in the first year, and thanks to CVN’s telehealth program, face-to-face therapy delivered online, the clinic will be able to reach veterans and military family members throughout the state.
CVN CEO Dr. Anthony Hassan said, “We are thrilled to be in this area of high need with a very credible local partner in Valley Cities. Since opening to the public in 2016, Cohen Clinics have treated more than 10,000 clients across the country. We expect to make a big impact on the local veteran and military family community in this location.”
Onward and upward! We’re excited to be well on our way to Steven A. Cohen’s promise for 25 clinics by 2020.
By Hope Salley
CVN Clinic Communications Manager