U-M, VA Partnerships Benefit Area Veterans

A University of Michigan volunteer helps out at the Ann Arbor VA hospital

University of Michigan human resource leaders recently spent a day learning about the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, learning first-hand about some of many ways it cares for patients. A surgical procedure called “deep brain stimulation” is one of them.

Deep brain stimulation involves implanting an electrode into the brains of patients with diseases like Parkinson’s who suffer constant tremors. The implant disrupts the abnormal brain activity causing the symptoms, restoring coordination and mobility in patients.

Researchers at the VA have been studying the procedure as an effective way to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in combat veterans.

Despite promising results, few locations in the VA healthcare system offer the procedure.

Thanks to an affiliation with the University of Michigan, the Ann Arbor VA is the only site in the Midwest to offer deep brain stimulation to veterans.

VA staff described this as one of the many of the ways they leverage the expertise of U-M faculty, staff and students to support veterans. 

Once a year, the university’s HR Management Forum organizes a day of service learning with an organization affiliated with the university.

During their visit to the VA, the group delivered care packages and played games with patients, stuffed appointment letters and restocked commissary shelves. They also washed patient transport vehicles and swept the facility’s on-site power plant. 

In addition to partnering with Michigan Medicine, the Ann Arbor VA works with the university's schools of Dentistry, Nursing, Social Work, Public Health and Engineering.

The visit was coordinated through the Voluntary Service program which manages volunteers and donations for the VA.

Individuals and groups interested in volunteering at the Ann Arbor VA should contact the Voluntary Service team at 734-845-3467 or visit annarbor.va.gov/giving.

View photos from the HR Management Forum visit to the Ann Arbor VA