U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs VA Pacific Islands Health Care Svstem

VAPIHCS Veterans,

Primary Care Now Open on Saturdays


Beginning May 13, 2023, Primary Care at the Sparks Matsunaga Ambulatory Care Clinic will be open 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Call 1-800-213-1306 for an appointment.

National Volunteer Week


National volunteer week is from April 16, 2023, to April 22, 2023. Many of you already volunteer in various capacities through a child’s school, a church, or a charity that you feel passionate about. However, you may not know that we have opportunities to volunteer right here at VA Pacific Islands Health Care System (VAPIHCS). Here are opportunities we offer to volunteers:


Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Volunteer Driver Program, which partners with Veteran Affairs throughout the United States. DAV Volunteer Driver Program helps Hawaii Veterans get to and from their medical appointments throughout the islands. Drivers must be 21 years of age, complete an interview, 7 training courses, medical clearance, and driver’s history upon qualification.


Community Living Center (CLC) (24 hour facility). Volunteers work with Recreation Therapists at our Volunteers assist with activities to include Art and Music therapies and maintaining the CLC garden.


Compassionate Contact Corps (CCC). This is a virtual program that matches a Volunteer with   Veteran(s). Volunteers contact their matched Veteran(s) at least once a week for a minimum of 15 minutes. This program was created during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep Veteran(s) connected. It is a great way to give back to the men and woman who have worn the cloth of our nation.


Red Coat Ambassadors greet Veterans at the entrance of VAPIHCS facilities. Volunteers wear Red Coats (Vests) to be easily identify and may assist in helping Veterans to their appointment.


Vet Centers (West Oahu and Honolulu) Volunteers will assist with Outreach Events and assist with receiving incoming calls.

A specialized Volunteer opportunity is with MyHealtheVet Application. Volunteers assist Veterans to download and utilize the MyHealtheVet Application.


Sometimes specialized positions come up, so if you have questions, talk with Schoen Safotu at (808) 433-7725 or schoen.safotu@va.gov. Please share these opportunities with your friends, family, and the community. Volunteering with VA is a wonderful way to help support the men and women who have worn the cloth of our nation.


Psychology Recognition Week


From April 23, 2023, to April 29, 2023, VAPIHCS is participating in the national occurrence of Psychology Recognition Week. This week is set aside as a time for us to celebrate how psychology aids us to develop practices that help us work smarter, illuminate the root causes of injustice and help fight inequality, and conduct research that helps us understand ourselves and our world. These are just some of the ways that psychology helps us every day.


This week is a chance for us to acknowledge the contributions of psychologists to the care of Veterans at VA Medical Centers. The history of psychology is inextricably intertwined with that of VA, as the creation and growth of VA led to a dramatic increase in the need for psychologists to provide care for World War II veterans. VA trains and employs more psychologists than any entity in the United States. Our rich training environment has led to recruitment of many psychology trainees to VA careers, as 70 percent of psychologists currently employed at VA trained at a VA facility.


VAPIHCS psychologists provide a range of services to VA and to Veterans, and serve in clinical, research, educational, and administrative roles. VAPIHCS psychologists are integral to the care of veterans, and during this week, we ask you to thank a psychologist for their service.


Viewing Veterans in Context


Whole Health seeks to view a Veteran as a whole person, rather than only looking at the symptoms that brought them to us. Part of that is viewing a Veterans’ health challenges in the context of their culture and their history. Particularly in VAPIHCS where our population is racially diverse, it’s critical to show an understanding and respect for each unique Veterans’ situation and values.


In general, things like a healthy weight vary between a Samoan Veteran and an Asian Veteran. A Veteran of Asian descent may be at a higher risk for diabetes at a lower weight. We need to remember that we can’t treat a Veteran who is African American the same as a Veteran who is Filipino or a Veteran who is Native Hawaiian, because some of the diseases they are at risk for are different. All VAPIHCS employees are encouraged to learn about how race correlates with prevalence of different health challenges to ensure we are providing safe, compassionate, quality care that respects a Veteran in the context of their risk factors, so accurate screenings can be done.


A Veterans’ history can also be an important factor when setting reasonable goals. For some Veterans, a reasonable goal is to be able to spend an hour in the park each week playing with their grandchildren. For a different Veteran, a reasonable goal might be competing a marathon.  Taking patient history into account can help when setting goals, recommending complimentary therapies such as Ti Chi and Yoga, and recommending courses of treatment.


Whole Health poses the question to us: What is best for the Veteran as a whole person? That’s why it’s so crucial to include considerations for a Veterans lifestyle, culture, history, and other factors. Taking the whole Veteran into consideration helps us to provide the highest possible standard of care, which I know we all strive to do.


Thoughts from Chaplain Richie Charles


Wilma Rudolph, once considered the fastest woman on earth at the 1960 Rome Olympics, stunned the world when she became the first American woman in history to win three gold medals in a single Olympic competition. But it’s her journey off the track that makes her accomplishments even more legendary.


Born prematurely on June 23, 1940, her life would be an uphill climb from the very beginning. Weighing only 4.5 pounds at birth, and born into poverty as the 20th of her father’s 22 children, she endured much hardship from an early age. She suffered from double pneumonia with scarlet fever, and was diagnosed with polio, a condition which, though she survived, left her with paralysis. She lost the use of her left leg, and was fitted for metal leg braces at the tender age of six. Wilma was told that she would never walk again, and much of her childhood was spent in bed.


But her mother encouraged her and instilled within her the belief that she could do anything she wanted. A determined child, Wilma once said, “I want to be the fastest woman on the track on this earth.” After years of treatment and rehabilitation, Wilma Rudolf was able to remove the leg brace at the age of nine. And gradually, little by little, she would evolve into a formidable athlete.


By 1960, the little girl who at one point, could not walk, now represented her country as one of the most elite runners on the planet. At the Olympics in Rome, Wilma Rudolph won the 100-meter, 200-meter, and anchored the U.S. team to victory in the 4×100-meter relay, all while breaking records along the way.


It’s amazing what encouragement from others and persistence can accomplish. Wilma Rudolph was able to triumph in the very area of her life that once had the least hope. Let’s allow Wilma’s example to spur us on to persist through the obstacles that trouble our path.  

One Team, One Ohana!

Adam M. Robinson, Jr., MD, MBA, CPE

Director, VA Pacific Islands Health Care System


36th Surgeon General, USN

Stay Informed

Website: hawaii.va.gov – submit your email to get our updates
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VAPacificIslands/
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/va_pacific_islands/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PAOOffice1
Podcast: https://vapihcspao.podbean.com/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *