Newsletter | Fall 2020 | South Central MIRECC - MIRECC / CoE
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Newsletter | Fall 2020 | South Central MIRECC

Consumer Advisory Board Spotlight: Mr. Terry Williams, Sr.

By Traci Abraham, PhD, Jeffrey Cully, PhD, and Darrell Zeno, MS

Groundbreaking ceremony at the Arkansas Veterans Home
Pictured: Groundbreaking ceremony at the Arkansas Veterans Home. Terry Williams first from left; Governor Asa Hutchinson seventh from left.

The SC MIRECC Consumer Advisory Board is composed of Veterans, caregivers of Veterans, and VA healthcare providers. Individual CAB members draw upon a wealth of diverse knowledge and experience to support leaders, researchers, educators and clinicians in VISN 16 in the development of educational programs, research materials and proposals, and clinical services that benefit Veterans and their families. In this issue of the SC MIRECC newsletter, we’re featuring an in-depth look at Mr. Terry Williams, Sr., who has served on the CAB for more than 20 years.

Mr. Terry Williams, Sr. is a retired U.S. Army Veteran (1977-1997). During his time in the military, Mr. Williams was stationed in the U.S., Europe, and South West Asia, and was assigned to N.A.T.O. He has diligently served on the SC MIRECC Consumer Advisory Board since 1999, as well as the VA Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center Advisory Committee (GRECC) since 2014. “I have worked on behalf of the Veterans for over 20 years,” he says. “It is not a task, but a passion to serve the Veteran community.”

Mr. Williams was initially drawn to the SC MIRECC CAB through his involvement with the Arkansas Veterans Coalition (1997 – present) and subsequent appointment to the Arkansas Veterans Commission (2000-2015), an advisory committee to the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA). Having spoken with Veterans all over Arkansas about their health and healthcare, Mr. Williams joined the CAB to provide “a channel to voice what Veterans were saying they need from the VA.” He noted that, for Veterans in Arkansas, “In most cases, the VA is their only source of health care.”

Mr. Williams feels that he has a “vested interest” in improving the health of rural Veterans. During his time with the CAB, he has been involved in shaping interventions that leverage Veteran Peer Counselors to address mental health concerns, as well as various faith-based initiatives.

Mr. Williams promotes using Veteran Service Organizations to engage Veterans with the VA and is passionate about programs that involve Veterans’ families in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder. He is most proud of having played a key role over the years in raising awareness of the specific needs of rural Veterans, both within the VA and elsewhere. He would like to see more VA research that is “resilient and proactive,” believing that: “We should be thinking about how the military are now policing the same places they call home. What problems will VA face when these soldiers become Veterans with problems we have not faced yet?”

The SC MIRECC CAB meets virtually the first Wednesday of every month. If you are interested in drawing upon the diverse expertise and experience of the CAB to develop an educational program, research material or proposal, or clinical service, you may contact Mr. Darrell Zeno at Darrell.Zeno@va.gov.

Last updated: October 29, 2020