ELIZABETH, NJ – Oran Bryant was just a young man, probably barely out of his teens, went he served as a radio operator on a B-29 in China and Burma in World War II. In his words, he “was trained to maintain everything on that plane.” It was a job he kept from 1943 to 1946. Recently, the 91-year-old Elizabeth resident was honored for that service by Trinitas Regional Medical Center with a “We Honor Veterans” certificate.

This special recognition is part of Trinitas’s series of programs addressing the specific medical and mental health needs of veterans. 

With the support of the Thomas Glasser Foundation, Inc., Trinitas is participating in a special National Hospital and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) program that offer enhanced patient care and other services to veterans. To address the needs of current veterans and the growing number of veterans in the next 10 to 20 years, these programs in coordination with the VA and the NHPCO give the veterans care with the dignity, recognition, and gratitude they deserve.

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"The new grant-funded program supports the ongoing measures Trinitas uses each day to meet the health care needs of service men and women while they are under our care," explains Magie Cruz, RN, MSN, director of Palliative Care. “It’s a natural complement to our existing Palliative Care program and a fitting way to treat our valued veterans who deserve everyone's respect and gratitude."

Johanna Thomas, Intervention Clinician of Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP), at Trinitas works closely with Trinitas staff and volunteers to identify vets when they are admitted for care.  "Upon admission to the hospital, we ask patients if they are military veterans and if they'd like information about veterans' benefits. We are also proud to give them a formal acknowledgment of their service to our country."

The Behavioral Health and Psychiatry Department of Trinitas works to meet the mental health needs of veterans who suffer from a range of mental health issues, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in a program called Project Pride for Veterans. This counseling and case management program is offered in partnership with the Elizabeth Veterans Administration.

Linda Reynolds, director of adult outpatient services, explains, “One of our two licensed social workers is an active reservist and our Advance Practice Nurse is retired from the Air Force.  Their common bond with veterans is so important to the positive patient outcomes we strive for in this program. The Project Pride program provides individual, group, and family psychiatric services designed to reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life for veterans and their families. Ultimately, in partnership with the VA, we direct our energies toward helping veterans live the life they want and deserve.”