The Voice | Issue 2 - Fiscal Year 2019 - Center for Minority Veterans (CMV)
Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.
Attention A T users. To access the combo box on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Press the alt key and then the down arrow. 2. Use the up and down arrows to navigate this combo box. 3. Press enter on the item you wish to view. This will take you to the page listed.
Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge

Center for Minority Veterans (CMV)


The Voice | Issue 2 - Fiscal Year 2019

VA Center for Minority Veterans Newsletter

In this Section: Newsletter Index  |  Subscribe for Updates
On this Page: Message from the Executive Director  |  Word from the Deputy Director  |  CMV Focus  |  VA MISSION Act of 2018  |  CMV Highlights  |  Advisory Committee Site Visit Recap  |  Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribal Tribune  |  Partnerships  |  MVPC Corner
Message from the Executive Director

Stephen Dillard, CMV DirectorCenter for Minority Veterans (CMV) Outreach Resolution: Reviewing, Planning and Implementing

“Improve the culture – offer world class customer service” – the words of VA Secretary Robert L. Wilkie, – resonate with the CMV Team’s passion and desire to serve our Veterans and their families. In fact, we incorporate the following questions in our daily quest to serve: How can we effectively meet the needs of our Veterans? What is the solution to the Veteran’s issue? How can we improve the Veteran’s experience to help them achieve their goals and objectives? This is the core of our daily activities. We believe in and enjoy implementing ICARE values daily!

The second quarter of FY 2019 is history. However, as part of the CMV outreach practice, the CMV team is reviewing, planning and implementing our strategy to increase outreach to our Veterans, their families, Caregivers, Survivors and other beneficiaries.

What has excited us about this season at CMV is the time has arrived for us to share the Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act of 2018 materials. The “Mission Act will be implemented on June 6, 2019! The VA MISSION Act of 2018 empowers Veterans and enhances care options. See more on Mission Act below.

During the second quarter of FY 2019, we have engaged, informed and educated our Veterans on VA programs and services as well as celebrated their historical accomplishments. For example, CMV hosted, co-hosted or participated in a plethora of Black History Month programs, to include the flagship event at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial that commemorated the Army’s 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion. Further, we continued our efforts and participated and engaged the Veterans of the Alaska Federation of Natives, 2019 Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Asian American Pacific Islander Veterans Service Organizations activities, American GI Forum activities (i.e., the largest Hispanic Veterans Organization in America) and we concluded in a call to action and participated in the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes’ Veterans disability enrollment and claims clinic. These are just a small sample of CMV’s marquee events. Of course, the highlight of the quarter was the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans annual site visit to Houston, TX. Please check out page 5 of this newsletter for a full rundown of the ACMV site visit activities.

Finally, we’re making progress at the speed of light with the first-ever National Minority Veterans Summit! The summit will bring together VA leaders, Veteran Service organizations, subject matter experts and minority Veterans so we can hear first-hand about issues of importance to the minority Veteran community. The summit will take place in Dallas, from September 26-28, 2019.

Future newsletters will highlight additional CMV campaigns and initiatives. To effectively contribute to CMV’s mission, as a member of the CMV team, I am excited about partnering with each of you to meet the needs of our Veterans, their families, Survivors, Caregivers and other beneficiaries.

Word from the Deputy Director

Dennis May, CMV Deputy DirectorVeterans, we want to hear from you! That’s why VA is hosting the first-ever National Minority Veterans Summit to be held September 26-28 in Dallas Texas. Planning is underway, and a venue will be finalized in the coming weeks. The objectives of the summit are:

  • To provide minority Veterans and the local/state/Federal/NGO partners who serve them, with information about VA benefits and services
  • To engage in transparent dialogue about issues impacting minority Veterans
  • To share minority-focused research and innovations
  • To receive feedback from minority Veterans and connect with community partners
  • To identify unique issues and concerns of minority Veterans that impact their Veteran experience

VA leaders both nationally and locally are scheduled to participate. The target audience for the summit includes: Minority Veterans, family members, Caregivers, Public sector partners including military, federal, state, and local agencies Veteran Service Organizations and other nonprofit partners. Academics and others in the research community as well as representatives from the tech industry and corporations are expected to participate. Representatives from VBA will be on-site to provide real-time status of any outstanding Veteran benefits claims.

The two-day summit will include plenary and breakout sessions on issues including: Suicide prevention, Veteran employment, VA’s implementation of the MISSION Act, Veteran entrepreneurship, Women Veterans, cultural awareness and many others.

Please stay tuned to the CMV website on final arrangements and registration information.

We hope to see you all there!

CMV Focus: Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Presidential Proclamation on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, ‘19

“This month, we honor the more than 20 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who call America home, and we express our sincere gratitude to all those who are selflessly serving in the Armed Forces. We recognize the achievements of Americans of Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage in education, business, science, the arts, government, and the Armed Forces, which have strengthened our Nation. We celebrate their story as a unique part of the American story.”

~President Donald J. Trump

In 2016, Sen. Régine Biscoe Lee was elected to serve as senator in the 34th Guam Legislature. She served as Legislative Secretary, Chairperson of the Committee on Rules, and Chairperson of the Committee on Innovation and Economic, Workforce and Youth Development.

Sen. Biscoe Lee was re-elected to serve as a senator in the 2018 election. She currently serves as Chairperson of the Committee on Rules and Chairperson of the Committee on Federal and Foreign Affairs, Telecommunications, Technology, and Labor in the 35th Guam Legislature.

The Los Angeles Times | By Jen Yamato
Too rarely have the stories of Japanese Americans during World War II been told onscreen. Indie drama “Go For Broke: An Origin Story” helps fill that gap with the tale of the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team, Japanese American soldiers who proved their own prejudiced country wrong and formed the most highly decorated military unit in U.S. history. Read more

Mr. Ronald Sagudan joined the Center for Minority Veterans as a Program Analyst in April 2007. He serves as the Center’s Veteran Liaison for the Asian American/ Pacific Islander American Veterans’ community. As Liaison for the Asian American/ Pacific Islander American Veteran’s community, he is constantly engaged in different events that promote cultural diversity. He also identifies issues that affect Asian American/Pacific Islander Americans.

Mr. Sagudan is the son of retired United States Navy Vietnam Veteran, the nephew of Philippines Scout, and grandson was of a World War II Filipino Veteran. He has been an active member of several organizations in the Asian American/ Pacific Islander community.

VA MISSION Act of 2018 – Talking Points

MISSION Act Overall

  • The acronym MISSION in the MISSION Act stands for Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks.
  • The MISSION Act improves VA’s ability to provide high quality and timely care to Veterans who have nobly served our country.
  • This legislation contains more than 50 sections intended to strengthen and improve VA’s ability to serve Veterans.
  • Delivering an excellent experience of care for Veterans, families, and caregivers is at the core of VA’s approach to the MISSION Act.
  • As we implement the MISSION Act, we are building VA into a Veteran-centered system that enhances the pride of Veterans and VA employees.

Community Care

  • The MISSION Act will enhance the Veteran experience through an improved community care program that allows VA to partner with community providers to augment access to VA health care.
  • The MISSION Act puts VA at the center of Veteran care to ensure Veterans receive the best care possible, whether in VA facilities or through a community provider.
  • The MISSION Act ensures easy and reliable access to the best health care, when and where Veterans need it.
  • The MISSION Act enhances VA’s use of state-of-art facilities and cutting-edge technology.
  • The MISSION Act enables Veterans to find the balance in the system that is right for them.
  • VA’s approach to the MISSION Act gives Veterans an opportunity to make informed health care decisions in partnership with their care teams.


The MISSION Act will expand the eligibility for family members who care for Veterans, enabling them to receive compensation under the auspices of the Caregiver Support Program. Right now, that program is only available to eligible caregivers of Veterans who were injured on or after September 11, 2001.

CMV Highlights: Million Veteran Program

Stephen Dillard, CMV DirectorCMV Deputy Director (seated) completes his enrollment in VA’s Million Veteran Program (MVP) courtesy of nurse Nancy Steward of the MVP. With over 750,000 Veterans enrolled, the program is seeking a million Veterans as part of a long-term research project. VA researchers use MVP data to examine a host of different illnesses and conditions, particularly illnesses prevalent in the Veteran community. Veterans can enroll at over 130 sites including VA Medical Centers and Community-Based Outpatient Clinics. For more info on the program and how to enroll, visit the MVP website.


Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans (ACMV) Site Visit Recap

From April 9-11, the 12 members of the ACMV met in Houston, Texas and toured the Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center-hosted by Deputy COS Dr. James Scheurich/ VHA MVPC Barbara Sapp-Davis, Houston Regional Office (RO)- hosted by Executive Director Robert Worley II/ VBA MVPC Edward Perry, and the Houston National Cemetery- hosted by Director Celethia Reed and Assistant Director Raymond Dann. The Advisory Committee and CMV staff also held the ACMV’s highest attended Town Hall Meeting to date.

Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans

Appointed by the Secretary, The ACMV was established under Public Law 103-446 § 510, November 2, 1994. The Committee consists of Veterans who represent respective minority groups and are recognized authorities in fields pertinent to the needs of the minority group they embody.

Are you interested in serving on the ACMV? Visit the committee’s web page to learn more.

Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribal Tribune

The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Office of Veteran Affairs in conjunction with the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs are bringing your ‘benefits home’ hosting the Your Service, Our Mission– Bringing Benefits Home event on March 20 at the Concho Community Center in Concho, Oklahoma. The Bringing Benefits Home is a nationwide campaign to roll out Veteran disability enrollment claims events throughout Oklahoma in over 30 tribal communities.

The hope is to reach Veterans in rural areas giving them the opportunity to be walked through the claims process on a one-on-one basis. In addition, widows who may be eligible for services can be assisted individually with answers to all their questions and assistance in applying for benefits.

“With the focus on Veterans with presumptive disabilities and those who are pension eligible, VA is hopeful we can help Indian Country Veterans access the full range of benefits they have courageously earned through their service,” Stephanie Birdwell, VA’s Office of Tribal Government Relations director said. The concept is simple Mary Culley, VA Tribal Government Relations Specialist said. “By bringing the services here to them they are more comfortable because it’s their home setting, their atmosphere,” Culley said. And in that home setting, individuals were given one on one assistance being personally walked through the, sometimes complicated and intimidating, process of applying for benefits.

“We will make sure they understand the questions that are being asked and if we need to we will prompt the conversation so that we can get the information. We know what they are looking for, so if we can prompt the conversation with, ‘what exactly did you do in the military,’ then the wheels start turning as to what questions need to be asked in order to get the claim started and, in the process,” Culley said.

In 2018 the Bringing VA Benefits Home events saw over 200 Veterans and widows who attended, and Culley said what they learned from last year’s events was, “77 claims for disability compensation was submitted and out of those 77 claims, 45 were approved, many of whom received at least five years of back pay. So we saw a 70 percent approval rate on the claims we were able to process all within a 59-day window.”

According to data from the Center for Minority Veterans, Native Americans are the population least likely to access VA Health Benefits, even though they served the country at a higher per capita rate. Because of that data, Stephen Dillard, Center for Minority Veterans, Executive Director traveled to Oklahoma from Washington, D.C. to observe firsthand the event and to show his support. As executive director Dillard served as the principal advisor to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on the adoption and implementation of policies and programs affecting Veterans who are minorities.

”I am impressed, and I think it’s amazing to see the collaboration because at the Dept. of Veteran Affairs we can’t do it all by ourselves, so we want to be able to reach out to our partners and stakeholders in the community because this is where all the work is done at the grass root level. I’ve heard about the different events and I had the opportunity to fly out here and support it and to see it firsthand. My team is here from the Center for Minority Veterans, and we have Juanita Mullen, retired U.S. Air Force who is our American Indian/Alaska Native Liaison. This population we want to make sure we reach … the bottom line is we love our Veterans,” Dillard said.

Bryan Sykes, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes’ Office of Veteran Affairs director said if only one Veteran received benefits where there were none, then he considered the event to be a success. “We want to get the word out to all the Veterans we’re here to help,” Sykes said.

Download the April 1, 2019 edition of the Gheyenne & Arapaho Tribal Tribune.


By Dwayne Campbell, CMV Hispanic Veterans Liaison

Partnering with the Center for Minority Veterans (CMV) extends the reach and impact of many programs aimed to help Hispanic Veterans make informed decision regarding their Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. The issues facing the Hispanic Veteran community today are many and complex. The VA recognizes that it cannot tackle these issues alone and why it’s important to establishing partnerships with a wide variety of stakeholders.

While CMV is VA’s lead advocate for minority Veterans, we understand we cannot do it alone. CMV is continuously looking for collaborations that help achieve our mission at all levels to include a cross section of Veterans Service Organizations, community based, internal, faith based, and state and local partners. CMV partnerships work to optimize the use of available and emerging technologies, leverage available resources, and establish new access points to VA benefits.

MVPC Corner

Nicole Dotzenrod, Valley Breeze Staff Writer Providence Regional Office MVPC Michele Diamond was recently named the 2019 Woman Veteran of the Year for her “remarkable military service and continued efforts in service of local Veterans.” Her military career started in 1995 and she retired in 2017. She is a combat Veteran and also served a term at West Point to train the students for combat skills.

Her service to military Veterans did not end with her retirement, however. Diamond continues to serve soldiers and Veterans as the Nurse Transfer/Travel Veteran Coordinator at the Providence VA Medical Center. In 2018, she was appointed to a two-year term as Minority Veteran Program Coordinator, working as an advocate for minority Veterans and assisting them with navigating the VA system. (Dotzenrod, The Valley Breeze)

If you would like to be featured in an issue of The Voice, or have a story or idea you would like to share, send a photo and a brief description to us via email.