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Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island

 

VA Secretary Shulkin Visits R.I.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, left, talks with Dr. David Shulkin, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, at the start of a tour of the new R.I. Veterans Home.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, left, talks with Dr. David Shulkin, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, at the start of a tour of the new R.I. Veterans Home with the R.I. Congressional Delegation, Providence VA Medical Center Director Susan MacKenzie and VBA Regional Office Director E.J. McQuade, R.I. Dept. of Veterans Affairs Director Kasim Yarn, and other state and local officials involved in Veterans affairs. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Capt. Mark Incze)

By Winfield S. Danielson III, Public Affairs Officer, Providence VA Medical Center
Friday, May 19, 2017

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Dr. David J. Shulkin, visited Rhode Island May 5 to participate in a cornerstone ceremony at the Rhode Island state Veterans Home and visit the Providence VA Medical Center.

Prior to the cornerstone ceremony, the Secretary toured the new 208-bed home, located on the site of the current Rhode Island Veterans Home in Bristol, R.I., with Gov. Gina Raimondo, Sen. Jack Reed, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rep. Jim Langevin, Rep. David Cicilline, Kasim Yarn, director of the Rhode Island Office of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Susan MacKenzie, Director of the Providence VAMC, E.J. McQuade, director of the Providence VBA Regional Office, and other state and local officials.

"This state-of-the-art Veterans Home sends a clear message to our Veterans that we recognize and honor your service and sacrifice," said Raimondo.

Scheduled to open in the fall, the facility is being built using new federal design guidelines that maximize independent living.

"It's a testament to the good that can happen when we collaborate with our state and local partners," said Shulkin.

Dr. Susan D’Andrea, director of the Virtual Reality and Motion Analysis Rehabilitation Laboratory, demonstrates a virtual reality rehabilitation therapy system to Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin and Sen. Jack Reed.

Dr. Susan D’Andrea, director of the Virtual Reality and Motion Analysis Rehabilitation Laboratory, demonstrates to Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin and Sen. Jack Reed a virtual reality system that creates virtual environments and uses motion-capture cameras to animate an avatar in the virtual environment based on the motion of an individual walking on a treadmill in the real world. She said the system provides effective training by creating realistic and challenging environments with accurate visual perception of a motor task being performed by the user. (Providence VA Medical Center photo by Winfield Danielson)

After the ceremony, the secretary traveled to the Providence VAMC, and received a tour of the Virtual Reality lab. Dr. Noah Philip, director of the Neuromodulation Clinic, described non-invasive brain stimulation research that will help Veterans suffering from PTSD.

Shulkin was then shown DEKA, the first computer-driven prosthetic arm capable of multiple simultaneous movements.

Next was a tour of the Virtual Reality and Motion Analysis Rehabilitation Laboratory. Dr. Susan D’Andrea, lab director, said the system creates realistic and challenging virtual environments for training and rehabilitation.

Dr. Leigh Hochberg, director of the VA Center for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology, left, shows Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin, right, and Dr. Satish Sharma, Providence VAMC chief of staff, a device for brain-computer interface.

Dr. Leigh Hochberg, director of the VA Center for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology, left, shows Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin, right, and Dr. Satish Sharma, Providence VAMC chief of staff, a device for brain-computer interface during a presentation on BrainGate, a neuroscience consortium that includes Brown University and the Providence VA Medical Center. (Providence VA Medical Center photo by Winfield Danielson)

The secretary then received briefings on selected research and facility achievements, and discussed his priorities.

Shulkin said that VA strategy is focused on transparency, and that new access and quality of care information is now available to Veterans on the VA access website, www.accesstocare.va.gov.

Dr. Leigh Hochberg, director of the VA Center for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology, gave a presentation on BrainGate, a neuroscience consortium that includes Brown University and the PVAMC, and research on new technologies for brain-computer interface.

Dr. James Rudolph, director of the Center of Innovation in Long-Term Services and Supports for Vulnerable Veterans, gave a briefing on research to improve the access, quality and value of care for Veterans in nursing homes.

Shulkin concluded his visit by challenging Providence VAMC and Rhode Island officials to effectively end Veterans homelessness in the state within the next few years, noting the progress already made and how close they are to the goal.

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