VA to host Eastern Regional Summit in Cherokee

by Apr 22, 2013Front Page, Happenings, NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Tribal Government Relations will host its second annual Eastern Regional Summit on May 7-8 at the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort.

The summit provides an opportunity for tribal leaders, Veterans and Veteran service providers in Indian Country to network, share best practices and obtain valuable updates from VA leadership. This collaboration demonstrates VA’s commitment to  better understand and meet the needs of Veterans in tribal communities.

“The summit gives us the opportunity to develop, improve, and sustain critical partnerships with tribal Veterans.” said director of the Office of Tribal Government Relations Stephanie Birdwell. “It also provides an important platform to address issues being experienced by Veterans and their families across Indian Country.”

The summit allows VA to effectively coordinate its activities with tribal health programs, the Indian Health Service, and urban Indian health programs to improve access and delivery of healthcare services and benefits.

The two-day outreach event will offer panel discussions and keynote speakers to address many important Veteran issues including access to healthcare, the Veteran benefits process, telehealth initiatives, rural health projects and how VA is adapting to better meet the needs of women Veterans.

Other key areas that will be addressed include tribal justice, business opportunities for tribal communities and tribal Veterans, and the Native American direct loan program.

Additionally, the Charles George VA Medical Center (Asheville) Home Based Primary Care (HBPC) program will present information on the program’s collaboration with the Cherokee Indian Hospital and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.

In January 2011, VA established the Office of Tribal Government Relations to strengthen communication with tribes and better understand their needs. In February 2012, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs signed VA’s first Tribal Consultation Policy.

The free summit is open to all tribal leaders, Veterans, Veteran Service Organizations, and Veterans service providers. Participants are responsible for lodging and meals.

 For more information on the summit or to register, please contact Erika Moott at (202) 461-7868 or visit

– Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Tribal Government Relations