Warning: The Wrong Civilian Work Environment can be Hazardous to the Health of Combat Exposed Veterans According to New PERCEVD Program
Former Walter Reed psychiatrist Dr. Cynthia J. Washington explains, "veterans with combat related PTSD or similar challenges are significantly restricted in that certain reasonably predictable work environments will exacerbate their condition, albeit with substantial variation." Maryland headquartered DESTIN Enterprises, L. L.C. and Chicago-based Kaleidoscope Group, L. L.C., in association with Dr. Washington, have developed a comprehensive training and education program known as PERCEVD, "Preparing Employers to Reintegrate Combat Exposed Veterans with Disabilities". Kaleidoscope's nationally renowned CEO, Doug Harris, projects that "PERCEVD is essential for managing interplay between reasonable accommodations and conduct rules for combat exposed veterans, whether an employer's related goal is diversity and inclusion, ADA or USERRA compliance."
Columbia, Md (PRWEB) April 10, 2008
Maryland headquartered DESTIN Enterprises, L. L.C. and Chicago-based Kaleidoscope Group, L. L.C., in association with former Walter Reed psychiatrist Dr. Cynthia J. Washington, have developed a comprehensive training and education program known as PERCEVD, "Preparing Employers to Reintegrate Combat Exposed Veterans with Disabilities".
According to Ed Crenshaw, DESTIN's president and CEO, "PERCEVD embodies a new discipline from the combined expertise of mental health care providers, military professionals, war veterans, employment management and diversity consultants." Kaleidoscope's nationally renowned CEO, Doug Harris, projects that "PERCEVD is essential for managing interplay between reasonable accommodations and conduct rules for combat exposed veterans, whether an employer's related goal is diversity and inclusion, ADA or USERRA compliance."
Dr. Cynthia Washington explains that "war prompts a variety of conditions and disorders which may be disabling or cause symptoms that impede a veteran's ability to work." She adds, "PERCEVD emphasizes the capabilities of combat veterans and helps ensure those considerable strengths are not overlooked through ignorance or intolerance." DESTIN's Community Affairs Director, Denise Logal, interjects that "the disciplined and dedicated soldiers who personally sacrificed for the greater good of America, need every advantage of PERCEVD upon returning to civilian employment."
The PERCEVD curriculum addresses such topics as military vs. civilian culture; proper etiquette among people with disabilities; understanding common combat-related illnesses and conditions; recognizing and addressing various behavioral issues in the workplaces; understanding USERRA and ADA law; providing workplace accommodations; and utilizing diversity practices to empower workforces. DESTIN's Ed Crenshaw notes "our program's objective is inclusive and sensitive work environments which logic suggests are themselves a reasonable accommodation of combat exposed veterans." Reportedly up to half of the 1.6 million* American soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an anxiety condition caused by exposure to terror or ordeal. Dr. Cynthia Washington confirms that PTSD and related mental illnesses "cause symptoms including insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, guilt, lack of self-esteem, depression, generalized anxiety, uncontrolled anger, impairment of social and/or occupational functioning, substance abuse, thoughts of suicide, memory and concentration deficits, and/or other cognitive difficulties."
Referencing Dr. Washington's input on "trigger issues", DESTIN's Denise Logal contends that "employers unequipped to address the sometimes latent impact of war on prospective and current employees can inadvertently launch a downward behavioral spiral among them from which there may be no meaningful recovery." Logal recounts Dr. Washington's description of soldiers figuratively paralyzed by loud workplace noises reminding them of mortar attacks; raw meat summoning images of human carnage; trash cans and other imagined links to improvised explosive devices. "Whether these kinds of symptoms accompany an obvious physical impairment or clearly disabling mental impairment, empirical data indicates they substantially limit the major life activity of working" says Logal.
"The term substantially limits (under the ADA) means significantly restricted in the ability to perform either a class of jobs or a broad range of jobs in various classes as compared to the average person having comparable training, skills and abilities." Dr. Washington expounds, "veterans with combat related PTSD or similar challenges are significantly restricted in that certain reasonably predictable work environments will exacerbate their condition, albeit with substantial variation." Kaleidoscope's Doug Harris adds that "it takes competent employment management and diversity experts to translate relevant medical data and military concepts into practical strategies for employers attempting to create reasonably accommodating work environments for combat exposed veterans."
As DESTIN's Community Affairs Director, Denise Logal is mobilizing veteran and disability rights advocates to document the restriction on their constituents' ability to work, attendant to combat related PTSD. "Employers must act expeditiously to implement PERCEVD as there may not be retroactive relief for combat exposed veterans, now part of civilian workforces" says Logal. Kaleidoscope's Doug Harris reports "we are poised to overcome any corresponding hardship for employers through customized training strategies with graduated levels of effectiveness."
DESTIN Enterprises, L. L.C. is a multi-media employment search and management operation, featuring assistive technologies for marketing job candidates with disabilities. Its president and CEO, Ed Crenshaw, pioneered the basic concept which is now PERCEVD. www. DESTIN-E. net
Dr. Cynthia J. Washington is a board-certified psychiatrist and serves as a Major in the Army Medical Corps. She is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has received several awards in recognition of her service in the Global War on Terrorism. Dr. Washington has worked with numerous Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom veterans as a psychiatrist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The Kaledisocope Group is a full service diversity firm founded in 1993 by Bea Young. It is comprised of 15 full time staff members and over 75 nationally based, experienced associates with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
*Includes soldiers with multiple deployments