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Tia Burroughs Clayton, MSS
Consultant

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Alyson Ferguson, MPH
Chief Operating Officer

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Samantha Matlin, PhD
Vice President of Learning & Community Impact

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Caitlin O'Brien, MPH
Director of Learning & Community Impact

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Joe Pyle, MA
President

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Tyrone Quarterman, BA, MPH Candidate
Graduate Student

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Vivian Figueredo, MPA
Consultant

Georgia Kioukis, PhD
Consultant

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Veterans Health Alliance of Long Island

Mental Health Association of Nassau County, Inc.

Veterans Health Alliance of Long Island Logo

Program Website
Year:
2018
State:
New York
Winner Status:
Applicant
Program Type:
Program
Target Population:
Individuals who are Veterans
Setting:
Community

Program Description

The Veterans Health Alliance Program of Long Island (VHALI) is comprised of representatives from state and county government, the VA medical center, veteran’s organizations, mental health and substance abuse providers, universities and individual veterans, all who have a personal interest in supporting Long Island veterans. The mission of VHALI is to build a friendly veteran community by “Promoting the health and well-being of Long Island veterans and their families through advocacy and a broad array of services”. Goals are obtainable through 5 deliverables: Outreach: Hosting events that work towards the engagement of veterans and their families, Support: working with 80 alliances members and community partners to assist with navigating veterans and their families to the support/care needed. These wellness modalities include a range from medicinal/psychiatric to holistic avenues like massage therapy and Reiki, Training: to assist with helping our community partners understand military culture and how to engage and maintain these valuable relationships. Advocacy Efforts and Awareness: Campaigns are supported to destigmatize the unseen wounds of veterans. Efforts to obtain the goals of community inclusion and let every Long Island Military family know they are not alone. That you served us, now let us serve you.

Creativity

Jeff launched the first mobile peer support crisis team on Long Island, as well as the first peer-run crisis respite. Together with his team, he created programming that supports veteran and families on Long Island that include the following programs: Weekend Wellness Retreats, Yoga, Massage Therapy, Reiki, Resolution Therapy, Reckless with Red, Be One in a Million, and OA Patriot 5k Run/Walk. This program Hiking & Healing Veterans Retreat 2017, Mental Health First Aid, Vet2Vet Fluke Fishing Trip event, First Annual Veterans Gaming Event, Car Wash Fundraiser, Conference “Focusing on the Shifting Needs of Our Long Island Veterans,” Peer Support Project Picnic, Vet2Vet Peer Networking Groups, Reiki level 1 & 2 Training, Blood Stripe Screening events, Gaming Events and a web-based platform- Boomerangboard- anonymous peer-to-peer support. Jeff and his team are involved in all advocacy efforts to raise awareness of the needs of this population: Legislative Day, Dignity Day, etc.

Leadership

Jeff’s lived experience as a veteran and as a recipient of mental health services combined with his strong leadership and management skills makes him an inspiration to every person he meets on his journey. His own life and successes defies the stigma attached to a mental health diagnoses. He brings awareness to the gaps in the system. Jeff’s exceptional ability to form trusted relationships with people from all parts of the system from clients to service providers to government representatives is based not only on his deep empathy but also on his honest, frank demeanor. He is not just a leader at MHA, but the mental health system itself. Jeff has influenced systematic changes by encouraging the adoption of peer and recovery services within MHA and across Long Island. Jeffrey McQueen inspires by example every person he meets to embrace, learn, grow and advocate for their ideal life on recovery.

Sustainability

MHA has been able to sustain the VHALI program for over 10 years. Our Peer Coaching Academy provides support to peers who want to become certified billable peers. Capacity-building includes partnerships with different mental health agencies and government to increase capacity and growing support for the veterans and the VHALI program. Currently our partners include, the following agencies/organizations, who have a vested interest in the continuation of this program: Association for Mental Health and Wellness, PFC Joseph Dwyer Veteran Peer Support (Brookhaven Memorial Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Beacon House, Sag Harbor, The Vets Place Yaphank, Brookhaven Vets Chat, Liberty Village, Amityville), Outreach and early intervention for Veterans and families who are at risk of homelessness, Veteran Families Food Pantries, Services of the Underserved, SSVF of Suffolk, Town of Oyster Bay Veterans Services Division, United Beacon House, United Way of Long Island, Vietnam Veterans of America, VA Medical Center (Northport), Vet Centers (Babylon/Nassau).

Replicability

Jeff is a well as a national public speaker in the field of Peer and Veteran Services. He advises other mental health and social services agencies on Long Island and statewide on ways to enhance their peer and veteran services. Jeff has influenced systematic changes by encouraging the adoption of peer and recovery services within MHA and across Long Island Jeff envisions opening a Peer Coaching Academy at MHA tol provide classroom training on becoming Certified Billable Peers, accomplishing many goals, employment, engagement and on-going support. The Academy will provide peers the knowledge and support within a classroom setting to pass their peer certification test and provide continuous peer. Peer interventions have proven outcomes for recovery. Jeff’s peers will support other mental health agencies to help their consumers move through the Continuum of Care, grow personally themselves and be part of an on-going support team of care.

Results/Outcomes

Outcomes of the program include veteran’s consistent attendance at Support Groups, Retreats, and overall better health outcomes tracked through Foothold Technology. His veterans report that his retreats have provided a safe space for mending difficult relationships after returning from home. Jeff extends his work to the Nassau County Jail, and specialty courts and dedicates his time to being a leader in Long Islands’ substance support group community. Jeff’s programs have served over 4,500 veterans and their families. Each year the numbers of veterans attending his events doubles and his programs are viewed throughout the community of Veterans and Veteran organizations as successful. Surveys are given to veterans upon first engagement and every six months after. The reports of these surveys have shown that participants of these programs have a decrease in chemical dependency, hospitalizations, incarcerations, and unemployment. With an increase in access medical appointments and healthier housing options.