Challenge America to Partner with VA of Northeast Ohio for CAMVETS
Challenge America and the VA of Northeast Ohio Healthcare System are partnering to create innovative solutions for injured veterans through Challenge America: Makers for Veterans (CAMVETS)
CAMVETS assembles teams of engineers, designers, and other experts who create innovative solutions to the unmet needs of injured Veterans. This partnership between Challenge America and the VA will ultimately produce dramatic improvements in the daily lives of Veterans, their loved ones, and many others who face similar challenges.
Challenge America and VANEOHCS will host the very first CAMVETS program on April 25-27, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio at St. Edward High School in Lakewood. St. Edward’s Joseph & Helen Lowe Institute for Innovation has 12,000 square feet of workspace designed specifically for collaborative ideation and creation, including makerspaces for hands-on design and prototyping; it is the ideal location for CAMVETS teams to gather, design, and build with their Veteran team members.
“We are excited to partner with Challenge America and St. Edward High School using collaboration and innovation to address the needs our Veteran heroes in Northeast Ohio are facing,” said Kristen Parker, VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System External Affairs Chief. “Partnerships like these enable the VA to expand upon the health and social services we already provide to enhance outcomes for Veterans by taking advantage of private and public sector ingenuity.”
The CAMVETS program has three major components.
Challenge America will collaborate with the VA on all three stages of the program.
CAMVETS starts with individual veterans (Challenge Knowers) and empowers them to identify challenges they face. Following this needs assessment, Veterans actively participate in planning meetings with teams of subject matter experts (Solution Makers) who will assemble to create an innovative solution that improves the lives of their Veteran teammates and their families.
The program culminates in a three-day Make-a-thon, where Veterans play an active role in putting the plans into action by working with their teams to create an innovative working prototype capable of solving the unmet need they identified in the previous stage.
Develop Scalable Solutions
Following each CAMVETS event, Challenge America continues to work with the VA and its other strategic partners to select the prototypes with the greatest market viability. Working through its partners, Challenge America then pursues opportunities to refine these prototypes and make them available to scores of veterans and others who face similar challenges.
CAMVETS grew out of Challenge America’s partnership with Israeli nonprofit, Restart, on their flagship program called Makers For Heroes. Challenge America led the U.S. delegation to the 2018 Makers For Heroes in Tel Aviv, Israel and witnessed the miraculous solutions and transformative experience that came out of it for Veterans and everyone involved. The U.S. teams were so inspired that Challenge America decided right then and there that they needed to bring it back to the U.S.
About Challenge America
Challenge America is a national nonprofit with the mission to connect service members, veterans, and their families to resources and solutions that build community and give purpose to their lives. An outgrowth of Challenge Aspen, a Colorado-based nonprofit organization that has provided possibilities for people with disabilities since 1995.
Responding to the increasing number of wounded and injured service men and women, Challenge Aspen launched a number of veteran-specific programs. As these programs developed, research revealed the lack of coordination of resources and information between organizations serving military across the country, making it difficult for service members and their families to locate the services needed for a successful transition from battlefield to homefront.
Recognizing that gap and the need for coordination of resources and information on both a national and community level, the idea of "challenging America" to find ways to connect military and their families with the resources needed to establish a "new normal" life was born.
About VA of Northeast Ohio Healthcare System
For more than 75 years, the VA has taken care of Northeast Ohio Veterans, growing and adapting to meet the changing needs of America’s heroes. Focusing on treating the whole Veteran through health promotion and disease prevention, the VA provides comprehensive, seamless health care and social services for Veterans across Northeast Ohio. With 18 locations of care, including 13 outpatient clinics, two community resource and referral centers, a psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery center, a chronic dialysis center, and an ambulatory surgery center, the Northeast Ohio VA Healthcare System’s quality services are easily accessible to Veterans in 24 counties. The Northeast Ohio VA Healthcare System also contributes to the future of medicine through education, training and research programs.