Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island
VA Secretary Shulkin Visits R.I.
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.
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.
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.