Rush University Medical Center Creates Connect Community for its EN-Abled Veteran Program

Social collaboration will allow others to reproduce the Rush model, which helps military veterans find jobs in healthcare IT.

CHICAGO, Ill.—May 12, 2014—Next Wave Connect (www.nextwaveconnect.com), provider of the first healthcare industry-specific enterprise social collaboration communities, today announced that Rush University Medical Center has created a public community to support its EN-Abled Veteran Program, which helps military veterans transition to successful healthcare IT careers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the healthcare industry will add more jobs than any other sector through 2018.

Jaime Parent, associate CIO and vice president of IT Operations at Rush University Medical Center and a retired lieutenant colonel with the United States Air Force, acknowledges that Illinois is home to approximately 80,000 to 100,000 veterans. About one-third of these individuals suffer from invisible wounds, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Parent created the EN-Abled Veteran Connect community so that organizations anywhere in the U.S. could gain insight from and duplicate the Rush model, which just celebrated the graduation of its inaugural class.

“The character traits that veterans possess—loyalty, integrity and a sense of service, to name a few—are exactly the traits employers look for,” said Parent. “The EN-Abled Veteran Program trains veterans for sustainable careers in which they will feel useful, facilitating a healthy transition back to civilian life.”

In March 2014, Rush University Medical Center launched the Road Home Program: The Center for Veterans and Their Families at Rush, to provide support, counseling, and health services for veterans and their families in the greater Chicago region understand, heal from and cope with the invisible wounds of war. While the Road Home Program offers diagnostic, treatment and referral services at Rush, the EN-Abled Veteran Program further supports veterans by preparing them for vocational opportunities via a six-month internship that trains them and/or their families, providing the necessary tools to obtain employment and build a foundation for a successful healthcare IT career.

“Rush’s programs exercise a holistic approach in helping veterans,” stated Will Beiersdorf, director, Road Home Program. “It’s our hope that other organizations see the value we offer vets, and act to reproduce our programs.”

“Next Wave is honored that Rush chose CONNECT as its venue for the EN-Abled Veteran Program community,” said Drex DeFord, CEO of Next Wave CONNECT. “As a military veteran, I couldn’t be more proud to support the men and women who will benefit from this important endeavor.” DeFord, a retired lieutenant colonel with the United States Air Force, is scheduled to present at the upcoming HIMSS webinar, “You’ve Got This! Making the Transition from Military to Civilian Healthcare.” The free webinar will take place today, May 12, 2014 at 2:00pm CDT, and is part of the HIMSS Veterans Career Services series, focused on topics geared for veterans and transitioning service members interested in careers in health information technology (HIT). After the webinar the conversation will continue at the EN-Abled Veteran Program CONNECT community.

Next Wave CONNECT provides members access to a multitude of online communities, as well as dedicated industry professionals who facilitate discussions and work together to solve healthcare’s toughest issues. Key insights from highly-renowned, accomplished healthcare professionals are provided via Connect’s Advisory Council Experts (ACEs), Community Managers and Community Advisors—reputable healthcare industry professionals who assist members as they work together to crowd-source solutions and best practices.