Friday, November 7, 2014

Reflecting on Veteran's Day and a Call to Service

As we approach Veteran's Day next week I can't help but to reflect on the sacrifices those in uniform and their families have made to ensure Americans continue to enjoy the freedoms and quality of life that help to define our lives here.   Those veterans who came before us, as well as those currently serving, have done so out of a sense of patriotism and having the call to serve. 

As we reflect upon all the great gifts we have in our country, I think it’s also very fitting to reflect on how we too, as healthcare professionals, can contribute and give back to society, both here and abroad.  I’m not suggesting or expecting anyone to all of a sudden to join the Armed Forces or volunteer for the Peace Corps (although I also wouldn’t discourage it) but I am proposing we take some time to explore how we can better leverage all of our skills towards the betterment of the public health of Americans as well as others.  The call to serve should be a natural desire for all of us in healthcare.  While many do volunteer to “do good things”, I don’t believe it’s the norm; and I certainly don’t believe there’s enough. 

I’d like Salus to set a new standard and redefine how we reach out to others, both here and abroad, to have an even greater impact than we do now on society.   As many of you know, we currently care for children in Philadelphia, Norristown and surrounding public schools, send teams to Haiti, rural, middle America as well as other locations, but we don’t have a centralized, fully aligned approach to this.  I would like to use this refection on Veteran’s Day and a call to service to challenge the Salus community to work together to see how we can COLLECTIVELY pool our expertise as a University community to positively affect the lives of others.

I don’t believe there’s a single formula for this, which is why I’m challenging you to come up with some ideas.  One idea I’ve discussed is to reorganize SOSH and have them align with others at the university to expand their scope of services and destinations.  Let’s talk about it, develop a plan and then, in the true spirit of caring, generosity, ingenuity, and selflessness, execute something that has the Salus signature on it in honor of all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice which allowed us to exercise our freedom in being able to choose healthcare as a profession - and then give something back to society as a way of saying "thanks". 


  1. Given the date on the calendar (as well as my personal bias for this worthy cause) I'd love to be the first to post a seed idea and say, let's organize our efforts across disciplines to help better serve the medical and mental health needs of our veterans in the Philadelphia area. Thank you to all of those in our Salus family (and beyond) who have served!

  2. “Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That is a suicide every 65 minutes. As shocking as the number is, it may actually be higher” (CNN). There is an entirely new generation of veterans coming home from one of the longest combat campaigns in American history at a staggering 15 consecutive years and counting. With hundreds of thousands of returning veterans trying to adjust to civilian life, the challenge can be extremely daunting. U.S. veterans make up a staggering 10% of the American population and 1 out of every 5 suicides are veteran related”
    Unfortunately, veteran suicide is a growing epidemic here in the United States. As part of the OT class of 2015 and former U.S. Army OIF veteran, I have designed a fitness challenge for suicide awareness. Below I put some ideas you can perform to not only promote fitness but recognize the concept of “H.O.P.E”.

    H=Heart, for having the ability to never quit. This exercise would be a 2-mile run to increase your heart rate.

    O=Overcome, to beat any obstacle that gets in your way. This can be an obstacle challenge of your choosing that you currently struggle with to demonstrate your ability to overcome any challenges you face.

    P=Power, to demonstrate ones will power of resiliency. This exercise would consist of a power activity of their choice. Ideas can consist of power squats, power box jumps etc.

    E=Encourage, to encourage others to never give up and know that there is always someone there for you. Since the word “courage” comes from encourage, I would let the person perform something they may have been afraid to do before. The person would have to find the courage to complete this challenge to show that you can complete anything you set your mind too.

    Feel free to blog your exercises and times on this thread.

    Thank you to all who have served, continue to serve and planning to serve.

    Kevin Cianfrani, OTS
    U.S. Army 05-08
    4th BDE, 25th ID (ABN)

    1. I think this sounds like a great potential “first project” for our yet to be formed multidisciplinary student service organization or maybe our already formed student council community service committee???? They could potentially partner with our awesome fitness staff at the Hafter Center and host a campus wide H.O.P.E challenge. Maybe we could use social networking tools to elicit small donations from family and friends, similar to a bike a thon – with funds going toward a cause that supports the mental health of our veterans. If we could generate a little press coverage that could really help raise awareness for suicide prevention, and showcase that Salus students, campus wide, are committed advocates and future leaders in their respective fields. Kevin, I might even smell a capstone project/OT Practice article brewing here ;-)