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MVAA Director Adams to discuss Michigan's successes in serving veterans at White House
October 11, 2022
Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) Director Zaneta Adams has been invited to the White House on Oct. 12, 2022, to highlight the positive impact of federal initiatives on Michigan military veterans and their families.
The Communities in Action – Building a Better Michigan event is expected to include a morning briefing with White House and cabinet leaders on Michigan accomplishments, which includes expanding services to veteran families. In addition to Adams, participating from the veteran perspective will be Erika Hoover, MVAA’s women veterans and special populations coordinator, and Kwan Tillman of the Disabled American Veterans’ (DAV) Michigan chapter.
Under the tenure of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Director Adams, the MVAA has significantly increased its direct engagement with veterans through the agency’s 24/7 call center (1-800-MICH-VET), new partnerships and myriad outreach efforts and events such as the inaugural Michigan Women Veterans Conference.
These efforts have led to more Michigan veteran families getting connected to the state and federal benefits they need to avoid crisis and to thrive. This effort is bolstered by a $1.2 million investment by the Whitmer administration to continue addressing veteran suicide prevention.
“This investment will expand funding for suicide prevention efforts in Michigan and build on the ongoing efforts of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency to keep veterans and their families safe and healthy,” Gov. Whitmer said. “In the last bipartisan budget I signed, we made the largest investment in veteran suicide prevention in over 20 years because the brave men and women who fought for our country deserve our strong support in both our words and actions.”
Under President Biden, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also recently awarded the MVAA $750,000 a year for up to three years to focus on suicide prevention. The funding, of up to $2.25 million, comes from the VA’s Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program. In announcing the grant, VA Secretary Denis McDonough noted that communities are important partners in the work to end veteran suicide.
Director Adams is an Army veteran and attorney who leads the Michigan Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans and their Families.
“We took on the Governor’s Challenge in 2020 and have been working hard to reach more veterans and provide more prevention resources to our Michigan communities,” she said. “With the Sgt. Gordon Fox Grant and the recent investments made by Governor Whitmer, I believe we can finally turn the tide on reducing veteran suicides.”
The passage of the PACT Act under the Biden administration will also have a major impact on veterans throughout Michigan and nationwide, Adams noted.
The act – officially known as the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022 – extends and expands eligibility for VA health care for veterans with exposures to toxins such as from burn pits and Agent Orange. The act includes eligibility categories for Vietnam War era veterans, Gulf War veterans and post-9/11 veterans.
“The PACT Act is the largest and most comprehensive toxic exposure legislation ever signed into law and could affect 1 in 5 veterans,” Adams said. “We estimate that more than 100,000 Michigan veterans could benefit from this historic new law.”
Adams also applauds the VA for its recent announcement to offer abortion counseling and, in certain cases, abortion care to pregnant veterans and VA beneficiaries for the first time in its history.
“All pregnant veterans and VA beneficiaries seeking reproductive care – including those who have been sexually assaulted in the military – deserve the freedom to control their own body,” Adams said. “They fought for us and it’s great to see the VA fighting for them.”