Evolution of Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies in VA Adaptive Sports Programs & Public Private Partnerships
Reviewing the evolution of equine-assisted activities and therapy (EAAT) in the VA National Adaptive Sports Programs for Veterans and Service members with disabilities can bolster an EAAT professional's understanding of the programs in high demand. The VA's support of EAAT has expanded to develop broader, more effective partnerships with public and private entities offering programs with the potential to positively promote physical and mental health wellness of veteran and service members. To help make the VA Adaptive Sports Grant more approachable, the three different types of activities authorized by the grant will be differentiated, the benefits of the funding and allowances as well as an overview of where the adaptive sport grant started, how it currently operates and where it may grow into in order to help meet both organizational needs and those of Veterans.
Michael F. Welch, Colonel, USAF (Ret) serves as the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Paralympic Program Specialist, overseeing the VA’s adaptive sport grants (ASG) with the National Governing Bodies in sports, hospitals, colleges and universities, and other adaptive sport entities and their partners nationwide; the Olympic and Paralympic assistance allowance; VA strategic partnerships with sport entities; and other adaptive sport programs. Since its initial proposal in July 2017, these duties include the stand up and implementation of the ASG for equine-assisted therapy for mental health issues. He has worked VA adaptive sport programs since his retirement from the U.S. Air Force in 2011. His VA awards include selection by the Secretary as 2015 VA Employee of the Year.
During a 30-year USAF career, Mike Welch served mainly as an officer in logistics and Foreign Area Operations. His early years were in aircraft maintenance, in which he served as commander at both squadron and group levels. He began foreign operations as the logistician overseeing airlift operations in U.S. Central Command, including set up of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. Later, he served as in-country Operations Officer overseeing DoD counter-drug and security assistance programs in Mexico; Deputy A-4 overseeing the Combined Logistics Center and USAF facilities in the Republic of Korea; logistics and force assessment officer at NATO Reaction Force Air Staff, Germany; advisor to the Afghan Minister of Defense and staff in Kabul; Chief of J7 and operational training for NATO Training Mission-Iraq working with senior military and civil security forces in Iraq, and military advisor to the Organization of American States. His degrees include a BA in economics and public management, Univ. of Maine; MS in systems management, Univ. of Southern California; and MA in history, Univ. of Alabama.
This lecture will provide one continuing education credit (CE) toward PATH Intl. annual certification compliance.
Disclaimer: The information in these videos represent the views and opinions of the presenters and does not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions of PATH Intl.