by KAREN LAGRANGE COX
The Acadiana Veteran Alliance (AVA) is a 501C3 organization created to support veterans by way of assistance through AVA’s Work and Heal phases. The organization was founded by veteran Andrew Ward in 2020.
The Work phase of AVA establishes a way to build new economic development and industry with veterans. It is used to unite Acadiana-area veterans, Acadiana veteran-owned businesses and all Acadiana-based companies for a common purpose. This is achieved by placing local veterans in qualified career opportunities which connects local veterans with AVA’s local hiring partners in the Acadiana area.
AVA’s Heal phase funds a health program to help veterans combat Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). Through grants, Heal funds the Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB), a treatment for PTS. Acadiana has one local physician who administers SGB according to AVA’s Executive Director Millicent Nugent.
In 1926, SGB was used to treat chronic nerve pain. In 2006, the same meds were placed in the Stellate Ganglion gland in the neck. SCG has been found to be effective for PTS.
For veterans qualified to receive SGB, this treatment is the first step through trauma for PTS. SGB is usually followed up with cognitive therapies. Nugent states, “the majority of veterans receiving the SGB treatment have seen an improvement of quality of life.”
For veterans outside of the Acadiana area, AVA works with the Stella Center, based in Chicago, Illinois. Stella works to connect these veterans with physicians around the country who provide the SGB treatment to veterans.
A PCL-M is performed on veterans receiving SGB treatment. This is to establish a score to track the efficiency of SGB treatment in veterans. The test asks veterans about their symptoms in relation to their stressful military experiences. (source)
AVA acts in the role as advocate for veterans and transitioning military. Nugent advised they are in partnership with the Red Cross to provide services to the Armed Forces to assist the family of those deployed. The following link is to the workshop AVA will be hosting in partnership with the Red Cross. The workshop is called Emotional Grit. There is more information pertaining to the workshop on the registration link – Emotional Grit Education Event Tickets, Sat, Feb 4, 2023 at 9:00 AM | Eventbrite
Funding for AVA is provided by private donations through individuals and businesses, foundations and grants.
For veterans seeking assistance or for more information about the Acadiana Veteran Alliance or to donate, visit their website.