The Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence established the Jonas Nursing Scholars Program for Veterans Health to recognize the dedication and sacrifice of our veterans.

The aim of the program is to improve veteran health, especially those who returned from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The program supports doctoral-level nursing candidates committed to advancing veterans health care, from patient care to policy and administration.

The program is seeded by a half million dollar grant, and supports 50 nursing scholars across the nation in 2012 and the program expands further in future years. The pilot site at the University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing selected five students.

Each scholar receives $ 10,000 to pursue research focused on veterans’ health needs identified by the White House and the Veterans Administration. Priority selection goes to nursing scholar candidates with prior veteran-health care experience, either through active duty or work with the Veterans Administration, the Department of Defense and the Public Health Service.

“Nurses are key professionals on a veteran’s health care team, and veterans may confide information about their mental and physical health and their deepest concerns about recovery that they may not be comfortable sharing with others.” – Gale S. Pollock Major General (Retired) former interim Army Surgeon General

There is an urgent need to reassess, improve and provide resources for veteran health care. The Jonas Nursing Scholars Program for Veterans Health is but one way we can contribute directly to restoring the well being of so many who put their lives on the line to defend our nation’s freedom.” – Donald Jonas

Around 39,000 troops return home by the end of this year, adding to our esisting 22.2 million veterans.

A major change from previous wars, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans served more tours of duty. This resulted in an alarming rate of psychological and physical health issues.

  • Veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars represented four percent of total VA mental-health visits in 2006, a number that tripled to 12 percent last year.
  • One veteran of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan attempts suicide every 80 minutes; more than 1,800 veterans made suicide attempts in 2009 alone.
  • Upwards of 360,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans may have suffered brain injuries. Among them are 45,000 to 90,000 veterans whose symptoms persist and warrant specialized care.
  • Approximately 20 percent of the 1.7 million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression.

The tremendous health challenges facing our veterans require a specially trained workforce and this program is a significant first step in preparing nurses to be on the frontlines of veterans’ care.” – Darlene Curley Executive Director Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence.