California Veterans Health Initiative to Combat Suicide and Address Mental Health

Sacramento – Today, Governor Newsom announced $50 million for the establishment of the California Veterans Health Initiative (CVHI). The CVHI will deliver a comprehensive, coordinated statewide approach to ending veteran suicide by focusing on prevention, early intervention, and direct services to effectively combat the risk factors associated with suicidal ideation.

“On behalf of California’s veterans and their families, I would like to thank Governor Newsom and his Administration for their support of those who have worn this nation’s uniform. The Governor’s investment in the California Veterans Health Initiative displays his strong commitment to face a challenge that disproportionately affects California’s veterans and their families,” said CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani MD. “This is an unprecedented investment in the well-being of our veterans and their families, for which we are grateful.”

The CVHI will bolster awareness, outreach, and education efforts, as well as increase capacity through coordinated support of the community-based systems of care.

“It is vital veterans and their families have timely access to culturally competent mental health services,” said Keith Boylan, Deputy Secretary for Veteran Services. “The CVHI will support a structure that not only ensures help is there when most needed, but far upstream before challenges become emergencies, and worse yet, tragedies.”

The Initiative consists of three main components, including:

Outreach and Education Campaign ($5 million). The CVHI will strategically address the risk factors associated with veteran suicide through an awareness campaign that educates veterans, stakeholders, partners, and the broader community on the knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes surrounding veteran suicide. The campaign will target prevention activities, and promote health and wellness.

Veteran Mental Health Support Network ($40 million). The Initiative would expand access to mental healthcare for veterans and their families by supporting a network of veteran-specific mental health clinics throughout the state. Crisis intervention and treatment would be inclusive, equitable, and available to veterans regardless of age, period of service, type of service, discharge status, or disability rating.

Veteran Suicide Surveillance and Review Program ($5 million). CVHI will establish a multidisciplinary team of professionals and stakeholders focusing on the identification and collection of veteran specific suicide data. Additionally, the team will coordinate a statewide assessment of veteran’s mental health and provide recommendations on future prevention, intervention, and post-intervention strategies.

For more information on the Governor’s 2022-2023 May Budget Revision, visit​

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Veteran Services Division

Dear California Veterans,

First, I would like to wish you and your families a very Happy New Year! The 2021 year certainly came with its challenges and again required all of us to remain vigilant for the health and safety of our families, flexible to the changing landscapes of work, school, and home life. Similar to the year 2020, 2021 required a steadfast resilience that, at times, could be exhausting if not all together overwhelming. However, 2022 is here and with it, and every new year comes renewed promise, hope, and inspiration.

The Veterans Services Division (VSD) will look to assist California’s veterans and their families as they stabilize and secure their surroundings in 2022. Every month, we will feature an area of focus while providing you outreach, service, and training opportunities in support of the theme to assist you all in reaching your goals for the new year.

The focus in January will be on employment as we host a series of webinars that provide connections to numerous career opportunities offered through federal, state, and private employers. We will also highlight opportunities to start your own business, training through apprenticeship programs, resume writing, and interview techniques.

Currently, there are over 2400 federal employment opportunities in California and over 3800 employment opportunities with the State of California. Work for Warriors, a program operated through the California National Guard and our long-time partner, will also be joining the series of webinars. In fact, Work for Warriors and its cohort of employers are currently offering more than 1800 openings in a variety of occupational fields throughout the state.
Please join CalTAP on January 11th, 18th, and 25th to learn more about employment opportunities available for you. Additional opportunities to connect with individual employers and learn more about their companies will be available throughout the year. Check out our upcoming webinars and archives page for more information.

Again, Happy New Year…and we look forward to a happy and healthy 2022!

Keith Boylan

Deputy Secretary, Veteran Services Division

Memorial Day 2022

Happy ALOHA Friday Folks!

I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with love, laughter and relaxation.

I wanted to share an idea with you all of what our intentions here at the Hawai’i State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe is with regards to one of our biggest issues when it comes to our gravesites, particularly the standards of care and maintaining them.

I have only been here in my position for almost 10 months now and have learned a lot of what the expectations of the proper care and management of our cemetery is when it comes to the standards beset by the National Cemetery Administration and the Veterans Administration. Focusing in on the gravesites themselves, there is an expectation that each and every gravesite should exude a high standard of honor, dignity, respect and reverence. I have come to understand that the standard also incorporates a sense that every gravesite possesses in appearance and physical care that each one is treated exactly the same and that no gravesite should “stand above” another. The standards to achieve the level of reverence and uniformity evenly across all the gravesites is that there should only be:

· 1 Standard Marker that is provided by the VA
o This marker’s finish should not be polished or painted and there should be nothing permanently attached to it which would detract from the common standard
· The perpetual care of the grass/sod by the cemetery grounds staff. There should be no trenching, installing of borders, fencing etc. which would detract from the common standard policy
· Permanent vases, purchased by the NOK, ohana or friends of which currently only 1 is allowed to be installed by the grounds staff. Those with more than one vase has been grandfathered into the policy of one vase when it was implemented.

As much as we have challenges with keeping to the aforementioned standards governing each gravesite, there is an inherent issue of flags on gravesites. Here at the HSVC, we have multiple U.S. flags on some of the gravesites, we have Service Department flags (US Army, USAF, US Marine Corps, US Coast Guard, US Navy), NFL Flags, Sovereignty Flags, you name it….we have them. I have been told by the NMCP leadership that all veteran cemetery’s have the U.S. and State flags flying on the main cemetery flagpoles in honor of each of the veterans and families laid to rest within the Veterans Cemetery’s. An additional component of how each gravesite should look almost exactly the same when adhering to the standards and why there should not be any flags on any of the gravesites with the exception of Memorial Day, where a U.S. Flag is planted on every gravesite for that day only. There really should be no flags to be put on gravesites at all.

The Flags that are planted at the gravesites by NOK’s, families and friends are done so without the understanding of what the treatment/care protocols are for these flags……referencing the flag of the United States and State of the Union flags, which are:

· Must always be straight and upright
· If left overnight, must have a light to illuminate the flag during the dark of night hours (hence the primary reason why we have our National and State flags flying on our main flagpoles)
· Must not have any marking or writing on them
· Must not be faded, tattered, torn, stained or dirty
· Must never touch the ground
· Must always be arranged in the proper protocol order of precedence (which most of the folks have no idea of what the precedence is)

These flags are left within the cemetery grounds after the individual departs the cemetery with the burden of the care and treatment of that flag left with the cemetery and it’s staff. A burden that is purely bestowed upon the veterans cemetery because the veterans cemetery inherits the kuleana of taking care of that flag and must ensure it meets all the standards of protocol. This is something that the NOK, ohana and friends fail to understand….because if a U.S./State flag is torn, dirty, stained, touching or laying on the ground……they will not be the ones available to correct the situation….it’s the cemetery staff that must.

It is my belief that the culture of our community must be shaped to understand that there should not be any type of flag on any of the gravesites. To get there is going to take a monumental effort because our communities have been doing this (have been allowed to) for many, many years…….but because it has been a current and past practice does not mean it is right.

When I broached this topic with our Director, Ron Han, I proposed it as a plan/goal for the HSVC. Director Han shared with me that this endeavor needs to be a statewide effort for consistency sake which I completely agree with.

Please know that all of this is purely just a discussion and open for everyone’s thoughts and opinion’s. Everyone’s collective feedback is important to implementing change (especially drastic change) if we all feel it is warranted.

My initial thought is to present a plan that would target Memorial Day 2022 as the last day any of the cemetery’s would allow any flags within our cemetery’s. To lead up to the that date as a target of implementation, we would need to do media blitzes, community notifications, neighborhood board announcements, TV and Radio spots, visual banners/signage announcing the intended change…….all months in advance to the implementation date so this information can be massaged into our communities. Again, this idea is only in the stage of a internal discussion with you all.

I expect this entire process to be a painful one as our communities will not be happy at all as they probably feel that it is their right to do what they want….but looking at what is the right thing to do should be the premise of how this comes to fruition. To add…..if this endeavor is accepted and executed, it needs to be accomplished with hearts of aloha and respect.

Please let me know your thoughts on this topic. Also, please let me know if I should have included anyone else that I had inadvertently left out as this would affect all the State of Hawai’i cemetery’s on each island.

Have an awesome rest of your day and even better upcoming weekend!

E Mālama Pono,


Rob Lee, CCM, USAF/ANG (ret)
Operations Manager
State of Hawai’i DOD/OVS-HSVC
45-349 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744
Office: 808-369-3575

Oregon State research shows hemp compounds prevent coronavirus from entering human cells

January 10, 2022

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Hemp compounds identified by Oregon State University research

via a chemical screening technique invented at OSU show the ability to prevent the

virus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells.

Findings of the study led by Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s

Global Hemp Innovation Center, College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute,

were published today in the Journal of Natural Products.

Hemp, known scientifically as Cannabis sativa, is a source of fiber, food and animal

feed, and multiple hemp extracts and compounds are added to cosmetics, body

lotions, dietary supplements and food, van Breemen said.

Van Breemen and collaborators, including scientists at Oregon Health & Science

University, found that a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike

protein, blocking a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people.

The compounds are cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, CBDA, and

the spike protein is the same drug target used in COVID-19 vaccines and antibody

therapy. A drug target is any molecule critical to the process a disease follows,

meaning its disruption can thwart infection or disease progression.

These cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and in many hemp extracts,” van

Breemen said. “They are not controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive

ingredient in marijuana, and have a good safety profile in humans. And our research

showed the hemp compounds were equally effective against variants of SARS-CoV-2,

including variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected in the United Kingdom, and variant

B.1.351, first detected in South Africa.”

Those two variants are also known the alpha and beta variant, respectively.

Characterized by crown-like protrusions on its outer surface, SARS-CoV-2 features

RNA strands that encode its four main structural proteins – spike, envelope,

membrane and nucleocapsid – as well as 16 nonstructural proteins and several

accessory” proteins, van Breemen said.

Any part of the infection and replication cycle is a potential target for antiviral

intervention, and the connection of the spike protein’s receptor binding domain to

the human cell surface receptor ACE2 is a critical step in that cycle,” he said. “That

means cell entry inhibitors, like the acids from hemp, could be used to prevent SARSCoV-

2 infection and also to shorten infections by preventing virus particles from

infecting human cells. They bind to the spike proteins so those proteins can’t bind to

the ACE2 enzyme, which is abundant on the outer membrane of endothelial cells in

the lungs and other organs.”

Using compounds that block virus-receptor interaction has been helpful for patients

with other viral infections, he notes, including HIV-1 and hepatitis.

Van Breemen, Ruth Muchiri of the College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute

and five scientists from OHSU identified the two cannabinoid acids via a mass

spectrometry-based screening technique invented in van Breemen’s laboratory. Van

Breemen’s team screened a range of botanicals used as dietary supplements

including red clover, wild yam, hops and three species of licorice.

An earlier paper in the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry

described tailoring the novel method, affinity selection mass spectrometry, to finding

drugs that would target the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

In the later research, lab tests showed that cannabigerolic acid and cannabidiolic acid

prevented infection of human epithelial cells by the coronavirus spike protein and

prevented entry of SARS-CoV-2 into cells.

These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in

humans,” van Breemen said. “They have the potential to prevent as well as treat

infection by SARS-CoV-2. CBDA and CBGA are produced by the hemp plant as

precursors to CBD and CBG, which are familiar to many consumers. However, they

are different from the acids and are not contained in hemp products.”

Van Breemen explains that affinity selection mass spectrometery, which he

abbreviates to AS-MS, involves incubating a drug target like the SARS-CoV-2 spike

protein with a mixture of possible ligands – things that might bind to it – such as a

botanical extract, in this case hemp extract.

The ligand-receptor complexes are then filtered from the non-binding molecules

using one of several methods.

We identified several cannabinoid ligands and ranked them by affinity to the spike

protein,” van Breemen said. “The two cannabinoids with the highest affinities for the

spike protein were CBDA and CGBA, and they were confirmed to block infection.

One of the primary concerns in the pandemic is the spread of variants, of which

there are many, and B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 are among the most widespread and

concerning,” he added. “These variants are well known for evading antibodies against

early lineage SARS-CoV-2, which is obviously concerning given that current vaccination

strategies rely on the early lineage spike protein as an antigen. Our data show CBDA

and CBGA are effective against the two variants we looked at, and we hope that trend

will extend to other existing and future variants.”

Van Breemen said resistant variants could still arise amid widespread use of

cannabinoids but that the combination of vaccination and CBDA/CBGA treatment

should make for a much more challenging environment for SARS-CoV-2.

Our earlier research reported on the discovery of another compound, one from

licorice, that binds to the spike protein too,” he said. “However, we did not test that

compound, licochalcone A, for activity against the live virus yet. We need new funding

for that.”

Timothy Bates, Jules Weinstein, Hans Leier, Scotland Farley and Fikadu Tafesse of

OHSU also contributed to the cannabinoid study.

About the OSU College of Pharmacy: The College of Pharmacy prepares students of today to be the

pharmacy practitioners and pharmaceutical sciences researchers of tomorrow by contributing to improved

health, advancing patient care and the discovery and understanding of medicines.


Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039


Richard van Breemen, 541-737-5078