Jesse Brown conducts veteran outreach at Native American Gathering

Updated 7/22/2021 2:40 PM

Jesse Brown VA Medical Center reached out to Native American veterans at the National Gathering of American Indian Veterans at Cantigny Park in Wheaton on Saturday, July 17.

The mission of the outreach event is to connect Native American veterans with services that they are entitled to because of their military service.


COVID-19 vaccines were available to any veteran who wanted the vaccines. VA enrollment personnel from Jesse Brown were also at the event to register veterans for VA health care.

Events like the National Gathering are great opportunities for veterans to learn about services and programs that are available to them, according to Rob Christopher, director of business development at Jesse Brown.

"We want to make sure veterans are aware of all the services available to them at our medical center, including new services and programs that have been developed," Christopher said.

Jesse Brown and the Veterans Health Administration have increased focus on whole health programs and services for veterans.

With programs such as yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, and many others, veterans are encouraged to view their health care holistically based on their values, needs, and goals.

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This matches the way that many Native American veterans already view their health care, according to Debbie Rafael Shanley, the minority veteran program coordinator at Jesse Brown.

"Native American veterans have proven over and over again their willingness to serve. Now it is our turn to show them the services that are available to them and that align with their views of health and care for their whole being," Shanley said.

According to the National Gathering website, American Indians serve in the military at a higher rate per capita in their race than any other races of people in the United States.

The National Gathering is an opportunity for those veterans to connect with other veterans from around the country, as well as policymakers and service providers.

Veterans and family members of veterans can visit or the VA Office of Tribal Government Relations at to learn more about VA outreach to Native American veterans.

Jesse Brown VAMC is located near downtown Chicago in the Illinois Medical District. It is a 220-bed acute care facility and operates four community-based outpatient clinics in Auburn Gresham, Lakeside, Chicago Heights, and Crown Point, IND. It provides care to approximately 62,000 enrolled veterans who reside in the City of Chicago, Cook County, and six counties in northwestern Indiana.

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