Army nurse leads discussion on reintegrating soldiers to society

GREEN BAY — Army nurse Alison Lighthall, founder of Hand 2 Hand Contact, will educate and inform the public and University of Wisconsin-Green Bay students, faculty and staff about the psychosocial impacts of war on returning soldiers as they enter or re-enter an academic setting.

Lighthall, a registered nurse for more than 25 years, joined the U.S. Army Reserves Nurse Corps at age 46. Her work focused on training soldiers in mental resiliency, post-traumatic stress disorder, combat stress, and psychological first aid, for which she was awarded the Army Commendation Medal.

Lighthall will give a free public information session at 3:45 p.m. Monday, Dec. 1, in the University Union’s Christie Theatre, 2420 Nicolet Drive. The session is titled, Bringing the Soldier All the Way Home. A free pizza reception and question and answer session will follow at 5:45 p.m. in the University Union, Room 103.

Lighthall, a popular national speaker, is trained in suicide prevention, intervention, postvention and critical incident briefing. In 2008, she served as the clinical coordinator for Easter Seals’ Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Pilot Project. Her nursing experience dates back to 1983.

Hand 2 Hand Contact was founded in response to the growing psychological impact Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom are having on U.S. soldiers.
The mission of the organization is to educate civilians across the country about the psychosocial impact of war on returning service members, and to assist communities in understanding, supporting, and reintegrating service veterans.

UW-Green Bay has 275 soldiers and veterans enrolled in classes this semester and many are awaiting activation orders for 2009.

The discussion is being held as part of the UW-Green Bay campus wide Common Theme, “Waging War, Waging Peace.”

The Common Theme is a yearlong program designed to engage the campus and community in the ideals of a liberal arts education and the UW-Green Bay interdisciplinary mission. It is designed to encourage faculty, staff, students, and community members to focus on a general theme from multiple perspectives and have a shared experience with open discussion and critical thinking.

Sponsors for the event include the UW-Green Bay Academic Staff Professional Development Programming Committee, Classified Staff, Faculty Development and the Veteran’s Organization.

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