first responders

Hidden Wounds of War

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Since the beginning of time — at least since Homer’s Iliad — veterans and their families have struggled with the silent epidemic of Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injuries sustained during combat and other difficult situations that arise in military service. The Hidden Wounds of War conference brings awareness and education to the community about treatments and resources.

Hidden Wounds of War Conference 2022

Hidden Wounds of War

How can we better serve those who serve and have served us? This question challenges us to think about those who gave much and those who gave all, to serve our communities and nation. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought increased stress to our veterans, medical service workers, first responders, families, and communities. All too often, the psychological trauma experienced by those on the front lines is suffered in silence. The aftereffects of service bring the hardship home. By embracing honest discussion and developing strong support networks, winning the battle against these harrowing challenges is possible. 

Dr. William P. Nash, MD, clinical psychiatrist at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and consultant to the UCLA Prevention Center of Excellence and the United Nations, will join us as this year’s keynote speaker. Dr. Nash will be sharing from his experience working with combat and occupational stress injuries. In addition to Dr. Nash's keynote presentations, we will have morning and afternoon breakout sessions addressing these topics. Select sessions will be available for social work CEU credit

The Hidden Wounds of War Conference is hosted by the Hauenstein Center in partnership with Grand Valley State University’s Peter F. Secchia Military and Veterans Resource Center, the West Michigan Veterans Coalition, and the Kent County Veteran Services Office.


Schedule at a Glance

All times listed are in Eastern Daylight Time.
Please see the full conference schedule for specific information and details.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

8:00 AM Breakfast and Registration

9:00 AM Welcome and Dr. Nash Morning Keynote

11:00 AM Morning Breakout Sessions

12:30 PM Lunch Break

1:30 PM Dr. Nash Afternoon Keynote

3:15 PM Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Dr. Bill Nash

Dr. William P. Nash is a clinical psychiatrist at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, a consultant to the UCLA Prevention Center of Excellence, where he developed training for professional wellbeing, and a consultant to the United Nations, where he currently leads the development and implementation of a program to prevent PTSD in global peace operations. Previously, he served as the Director of Psychological Health for the U.S. Marine Corps, and while on active duty in the U.S. Navy, was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his service as combat-stress-control psychiatrist embedded in the 5th Marine Regimental Combat Team in Iraq during the Second Battle of Fallujah. The doctrine for maintaining psychological health in military operations written by CAPT Nash in 2009 still informs leadership training throughout the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. His peer-reviewed research with Marine infantrymen was the first to document PTSD in service members as a direct result of violations of moral expectations. Dr. Nash has co-authored two books, Combat Stress Injury: Theory, Research, and Management (2007), and Adaptive Disclosure: A New Treatment for Military Trauma, Loss, and Moral Injury (2017).

Full Conference Schedule

This conference will be held in hybrid format. Register for the conference to join us in person at GVSU's Richard M. DeVos Center in Grand Rapids or receive the virtual event link for all panel sessions

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Breakfast and Registration 8 AM – 9 AM EDT

Welcome and Dr. Nash Morning Keynote

9 AM – 10:45 AM EDT

Occupational stress injuries exist as enduring states of suffering and impairment directly caused by exposure to one or more extreme stressors on the job. All of the occupations at greatest risk of experiencing stress injuries and illnesses such as Complex PTSD and burnout are directly responsible for the welfare of others. In this presentation, Dr. Nash will review the evidence that the work-related stressor events most likely to inflict an injury are those involving the betrayal of important moral trusts, the loss of cherished people or things, and extreme physical danger. Additionally, the data demonstrates that pre-existing risk factors for stress-related illness, such as gender, race, or past life hardships, are insignificant compared with the impact of stressor events, themselves, other peri-event factors such as peritraumatic dissociation, and post-event factors such as social support. 

Social work CEU credit is available for this workshop. 

Morning Breakout Sessions

11 AM – 12:30 PM EDT

Description: Topics covered in this session include personal experience of a career law enforcement first responder and how the cumulative effects of these experiences contribute to high incidences of PTSD and burnout when compared with the general public. This session will examine the biology of how stress and exposure to trauma impacts veterans and first responders. 

Presenters: David Leonard (Retired Police Officer, Michigan Certified Law Enforcement Officer) and Derik Van Baale LMSW, BCD, PhD (Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Battle Creek VA Medical Center)

Social work CEU credit is available for this workshop. 

Description: Participants will gain an understanding of alternative treatments that are available such as art, equine therapy, acupuncture, music, and yoga.

Presenters: Martha D Burkett, MPA, LPC, CAADC, CHH, AD+CS, ADS (Director of Kent County Veterans Services), Jan Stump (Clinical Director, PEACE Ranch), Amy Batchelder (Founder of Lives UnBroken and Veterans Rising), Michael Hyacinthe (Veteran Advocate and Entrepreneur), Deb VanderBand (Co-Founder, Equine Assisted Development of the Great Lakes), Crystal Meeuson LMSW, ADS (Professional Therapist and Acudetox Specialist), and Reginald Farrior (Veterans Service Representative, Kent County Veterans Services)

Description: This session is intended to inform current and former service members how to evaluate the commitment of military-friendly employers based on policies, practices, recognitions, and other less-obvious evidence. 

Presenters: Antony Scarturro (Continuous Improvement Champion & CO for Haworth Veterans Member Resource Group),  Noe Islas (Senior Recruiter at Spectrum Charter), Richard Bray (Human Resources Manager at Spectrum Charter), Andrew Prins (Gentex VETS), and Steven Lipnicki (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve)

Lunch Break 12:30 - 1:30 PM EDT

Dr. Nash Afternoon Keynote

1:30 PM – 3 PM EDT

In this presentation, Dr. Nash will demonstrate how anyone can reduce their own or another person or group of persons’ risk for stress injury and illness by identifying and reducing the risk factors — and enhancing the protective factors — operating in their environments and themselves. He'll review methods for identifying and reducing risk for occupational stress injury or illness in high-risk groups of persons, and mitigating distress and impairment in individuals who are already symptomatic.

Social work CEU credit is available for this workshop. 

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

3:15 PM – 4:45 PM EDT

Description: This session will help attendees identify risk management and suicide prevention strategies.

Presenters: Martha D. Burkett, MPA, LPC, CAADC, CHH, AD+CS, ADS (Director of Kent County Veterans Services), Chad Brown (Program Director, PEACE Ranch), Nelson Soto (Veteran Support Coordinator at Kent County Veterans Services), Reginald Farrior (Veterans Service Representative, Kent County Veterans Services), Michael Hyacinthe (Veteran Advocate and Entrepreneur), Amy Batchelder (Founder of Lives UnBroken and Veterans Rising), and Brad Stinson (Chief Executive Administrator of 92 for 22, VA Home Loan Specialist, and Certified Instructor at Military Mortgage Boot Camp)

Description: This breakout session will explore the impact of trauma on healthcare workers (HCWs) using evidence based and evidence informed approaches to management of trauma symptoms in a healthcare system. This presentation will include a panel of healthcare workers from different professional backgrounds.

Presenters: Kara Pettinger, LMSW (Cargiver Wellbeing Specialist, Spectrum Health) and Grant Heller, PhD, BCB (Director, Center for Provider Wellbeing) 

Social work CEU credit is available for this workshop. 

Description: The effects of military trauma and post-traumatic stress are vast, and reintegration can be overwhelming for veterans and their families. Master Sergeant Margaret “Margie” Howard, a Master Resilience Trainer for the US Air Force, will lead participants through a presentation on trauma and resilience — you’ll get practical advice on what trauma is, and how you can help others through adversity.

Presenter: Margaret "Margie" Howard (Master Resilience Trainer for the US Air Force)

*Sessions denoted with an asterisk are available for Social Work CEU credit. 

Page last modified May 3, 2022