TD Bank Awards MJHS Health System Grant for Innovative Veterans Initiatives

Two-year commitment helps launch virtual reality treatments, expand Vet-to-Vet Cafes, and broaden community and national partnerships

MJHS Health System is the recipient of a $150,000, two-year, grant from TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, in recognition of the organization’s groundbreaking hospice program that cares for military veterans and their families. Thanks to support from TD Bank, MJHS Hospice is piloting innovative virtual reality treatments as part of trauma-informed care. The grant also supports specialized outreach to veterans through dynamic programing, based on the not-for-profit’s core values of compassion, dignity and respect, including expanding existing Vet-to-Vet Cafes led by the MJHS Hospice veteran liaison and increasing community and national partnerships.

“MJHS Health System has been at the forefront of innovative hospice care since the 1980s, has one of the largest not-for-profit hospices in the region, and repeatedly proves to be a trailblazer of veteran-specific end of life services in the Greater New York Area,” said Terese Acampora, COO, MJHS Hospice and Home Care “By ensuring that every member of the MJHS Hospice care team is trained in how to provide trauma-informed care, our clinicians are well-positioned to recognize and address how the unique stoicism or challenges faced by veterans who have served in combat, peacetime, abroad or stateside may impact family dynamics and acceptance of end-of-life care,” Acampora added.

“Veterans and military families have made incredible sacrifices. As a result, they have complex health needs, and we need to find and invest in unique approaches that ensure those needs are met,” said Emmet Conlon, Head of U.S. Institutional Healthcare, Not-for-Profit and Municipal Finance at TD Bank. “We have a long-standing relationship with MJHS Health System and believe in the work that they’re doing across the board. We’re excited to continue supporting them and working together to build a better future for all by improving access to care for veterans and military families.”

Historically, many older New York-based veterans have not had conversations about advanced care planning, which is critical to avoiding crisis decision making. In agreement that it is important to cultivate veteran-centric end of life care, MJHS joined the We Honor Veterans initiative when it was launched by the Veterans Administration and National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in 2010. Among 4,500 hospices in the U.S. at the time, MJHS was the first hospice in the New York Metropolitan region, and one of only 11 across the country to earn a Level 5 (the highest possible) credential.

“Each year MJHS cares for more than 300 veterans on our hospice program, which is why we are honored that TD Bank has chosen to support the launch of “VR for Veterans,” our pilot virtual reality therapy treatment, and the expansion of our Vet-to-Vet Café program, as well as help make it possible for us to broaden community and national partnerships,” said Thomas Lamb, U.S. Navy Veteran and MJHS Hospice Veteran Liaison “Because we believe firmly that veterans and their families deserve end-of-life support from a care team that knows how to uplift and address their unique and unspoken needs, as well as gratefully acknowledge their service and sacrifices, we are particularly proud of our meaningful recognition ceremonies, specialized support for all veterans, as well as focus on spouses, partners, friends and children,” Lamb added.

“At TD Bank, we are committed to educating our customers, colleagues and communities about the experiences and issues facing military veterans and families,” said Paul Bajus, Head of U.S. Contact Centers and TD Bank’s newly appointed Executive Lead for its Veterans D&I program pillar. “We are proud to support a program that recognizes military veteran’s bravery and dedication to our country by ensuring that the unique health needs of veterans and military families are met with compassion, dignity and respect.”

More specifically, the support from TD Bank allows MJHS Health System to accomplish the following:

  • Use Virtual Reality (VR) in Trauma-Informed Care—”VR for Veterans” allows patients to visit the national war memorials in Washington, DC. This is expected to help some veterans “close the circle,” pay tribute to military buddies, better express survivor’s guilt and moral injury, as well as reach a place of peace and emotional healing.
  • Expand Vet-to-Vet Cafes—whether virtual or in-person, these events will continue to be led by the MJHS veteran liaison and serve as a safe place for veterans who are hospice patients, as well as allow families and civilians to join in the celebration of service milestones or discuss a range of topics, including life-altering moments and advance care planning.
  • Broaden Partnerships—Additional resources will help the MJHS veteran liaison supplement existing outreach efforts with other established community organizations that cater to an intersectionality of identities, including race, gender, religion and ethnicity.