The Joining Forces Initiative (JFI), launched in 2011 by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to call on Americans across the country to rally around service members, veterans, and their families, celebrated its fourth anniversary on April 12. Throughout the month of April, the White House and the Joining Forces team hosted various events and activities to celebrate JFI.
In honor of the initiative's fourth anniversary, the official White House JFI twitter account, @JoiningForces, sparked conversation about the JFI and related themes throughout the month. Distinguished government officials and Joining Forces representatives hosted Twitter chats, via @JoiningForces, around each theme to encourage discussion and answer questions. These twitter chats included:
- Mental Health: #ChangeMentalHealth
Host: Rory Brosius, Deputy Director of Joining Forces
- Homelessness: #HonoringVets
Host: Colonel Steve Parker, Executive Director of Joining Forces
- Employment: #HireAVet
Host: Lieutenant Commander Kate Higgins-Bloom, White House Fellow at Joining Forces
- Education: #KidsServeToo
Host: Jamie Lyons, Policy Director to Dr. Jill Biden
More than 100 colleges and universities, including AACOM, have signed on to ensure that thousands of future educators will have the knowledge they need to address the unique challenges military members, children, and veterans face. This training, which builds awareness of the experiences of military and their families, is the key to promoting success in the education.
Joining Forces works hand in hand with the public and private sectors to ensure that service members, veterans, and their families have the tools they need to succeed throughout their lives. As May is National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM), AACOM will continue to support and increase awareness for JFI, and the ongoing efforts with all of our U.S. member colleges of osteopathic medicine (COMs) to develop curricula and incorporate training throughout osteopathic medical education (OME) to prepare future physicians to care for military service members and veterans and their families.