Public Release: 

CU Anschutz College of Nursing receives funding to reduce veteran suicides

An estimated 22 vets commit suicide every day

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

AURORA, Colo. (April 30, 2015) - The College of Nursing at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus received funding this week for a new program designed to reduce the growing incidence of suicide among American military veterans.

Currently, an estimated 22 veterans commit suicide every day and experts say that number is conservative.

"Suicide among veterans is epidemic across the country, with a veteran dying by suicide nearly once an hour," said Cheryl Krause-Parello, PhD, R.N. at the CU Anschutz College of Nursing, and the project's lead investigator. "The loss of one service member to suicide is one too many and our veterans and their loved ones deserve better than distress, tragedy, and heartbreak."

The $14,997 was given by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and is part of a growing effort by the College of Nursing to address veteran health issues. The funds will go toward developing a program that will identify ways to reduce suicides by engaging directly with vets and those closest to them.

After establishing contact with the veterans and caregivers, Krause-Parello said, monthly meetings will be held to collect information on `protective factors for suicide.'

An executive partnership team (EPT) will be formed around key stakeholders and community partners who will use this information to develop strategies to help reduce the numbers of suicides.

Krause-Parello said the EPT will identify strengths and challenges and set goals related to ways to protect against suicide. Within nine months, she said, there will be a formal Veteran's Suicide Protection Advisory Group that she hopes will be a model to be used elsewhere.

"PCORI's support for our research is exciting and significant since our goal is to advance the health and well-being of veterans and right now there is no known regional infrastructure allowing stakeholder collaboration and engagement about protective factors in suicide prevention," she said. "We look forward to forming the Veteran's Suicide Protection Advisory Group over the course of this study with our support from PCORI."

Krause-Parello is also the founder of C-P.A.W.W., Canines Providing Assistance to Wounded Warriors: A Health Research Initiative for Veterans. The mission of C-P.A.W.W. is to advance interdisciplinary research, education and practice protocols for wounded warriors and veterans through the development of evidence-based and restorative interventions, to support military-related health initiatives by building community partnerships, to investigate therapeutic interventions that positively influence health outcomes and to emphasize system planning and protocols of care development for the armed forces.

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About C-P.A.W.W., Canines Providing Assistance to Wounded Warriors: A Health Research Initiative for Veterans: The C-P.A.W.W. initiative was established in October 2013 on the Anschutz Medical Campus to advance the health and well-being of members of the armed forces. At C-P.A.W.W., we are committed to the evolution of nursing knowledge within the context of research, education and practice in order to better assist the military population.

About the College of Nursing at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus: Founded in 1898, the CU College of Nursing offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral (DNP and PHD) programs to more than 900 students in two locations and online. Our master's programs and online graduate programs are ranked nationally by U.S. News & World Report. New programs include a certificate in palliative care, and a DNP/MPH interdisciplinary dual degree and new master's specialties in acute care and military and veterans' health. Learn more about the college at http://www.nursing.ucdenver.edu.

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