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VA San Diego Celebrates ASPIRE Center 10th Anniversary

Doctor Pearson shakes hands with ASPIRE Center Veteran
Veteran Jonathan Cubbage (left), who completed the ASPIRE Center's Program, connects with VA San Diego Director and CEO, Dr. Frank Pearson (right) at the ASPIRE Center's 10th Anniversary Ceremony.

The ASPIRE Center is a unique facility offering tailored recovery care for post-9/11 Veterans who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Since its opening in February 2014, the Center has served nearly 1,000 Veterans, primarily from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We're pleased to celebrate the extraordinary care and impact the ASPIRE Center has provided, and continues to provide, to combat Veterans facing enormous challenges," said Dr. Frank Pearson, Director and CEO of the VA San Diego Healthcare System. "The ASPIRE Center exemplifies everything. The professionalism and care of putting Veterans first. Veterans are our business, and we're in it to win it."

One such Veteran, Christopher Wood, spoke at Wednesday's ceremony about his experiences at the Center, and how it changed his life. "This is a one-of-a-kind place. They had everything I needed under one roof. The way the services worked together to help Veterans who had fallen on hard times, physically and mentally, is special," Wood said. "I was going through a pretty rough stretch in my life, but from the moment I walked through the doors at ASPIRE, I felt my life begin to change for the better. The programs here are the best I've seen across the nation. And the people here are the reason why I'm standing here today. Every area should have a program like this one."

Wood completed the ASPIRE Center Program and, with the help of VA staff, found stable housing and is currently enrolled in school to become a Veterinarian Technician. 

Treatment and services offered at the ASPIRE Center include PTSD treatment, rehabilitation services, occupational therapy, psychotherapy, financial planning, and job training. The Center has a full-time staff of 33, which includes a team of psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, addiction therapists,  dietitians, pharmacists, social workers, chaplains, occupational therapists, and peer support specialists.

The 40-bed facility is open to medically stable Veterans willing to participate in all ASPIRE Center treatment programs. The goal of the Center is to prepare Veterans for successful integration into the community while teaching skills for managing symptoms, improving overall mental health, making positive lifestyle changes, and developing a social support system.
Data from recently graduated Veterans show that they all live in stable housing and are fully active in employment or education.

In its ten years of existence, ASPIRE has offered more than 500,000 programming hours, served more than 378,000 meals, and offered a combined $10 million in student loan and debt forgiveness.

For additional information about ASPIRE's treatment programs and services, see the following:
ASPIRE Center Fact Sheet
ASPIRE Center Brochure