Health and Wellness for Vandy Vets program creates space for military veterans to focus on well-being; final session is May 11

A series of workshops launching at Vanderbilt will focus on the health and wellness of the campus’s military veterans. “Health and Wellness for Vandy Vets” will consist of five sessions; the first is March 16. Events will be at Faculty Commons, 1101 19th Ave. S., Room 210. They all are on Thursdays, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Each session will focus on overall veteran wellness. Guest speakers will include Pam Jones, associate vice chancellor for health and wellness; Karon Uzzell-Baggett, occupational therapist and decorated military veteran; a panel from the Department of Veterans Affairs, a dietitian and a financial consultant.

  • Week One: March 16
    Transition from Service
    A discussion on the transition from military service to civilian life. Speakers include Jones, Uzzell-Baggett and Stacey Bonner, director of health and wellness programs.
  • Week Two: April 6
    Stress and Emotional Wellness
    Uzzell-Baggett will facilitate a discussion on how to identify stressors and use stress assessment tools to better manage them. The topics of mindfulness and meditation will be explored.
  • Week Three: April 13
    Nutrition and Financial Wellness
    Speakers include Emily Svennevik, registered dietitian for Campus Dining, and Brock Goodwin, a Fidelity Investments workplace financial consultant for Vanderbilt.
  • Week Four: April 27
    Veterans and Mental Health
    Representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs will discuss substance abuse, mental health programs and benefits for veterans.
  • Week Five: May 11
    Mental Health and Wellness
    Jones and Bonner will provide an in-depth review of resources and services available for Vanderbilt employees and their families. Wellness programs that support physical health, emotional health and mental well-being will be explored.

Lydell Francis, Vanderbilt SkillBridge program manager and co-chair of the Military and Veterans Employee Affinity Group, Jones and Bonner spearheaded the health and wellness program for Vanderbilt. Francis, who retired in August 2022 after a 20-year career in the U.S. Army, recognized his own struggles with transitioning to life outside the military, and he has been committed to improving veteran support systems at Vanderbilt.

“The purpose for the program is to give all veterans at Vanderbilt a safe space to engage in social interactions with a group of individuals that know and understand some of the experiences that veterans may have faced during their time in the military, while providing experts in various fields to facilitate discussions and offer resources for Vanderbilt’s veterans,” Francis said. “This enables the university to demonstrate a level of commitment to our veteran community by focusing on the needs of all veterans: students, staff and faculty.”

“We are thrilled to be part of this program to support our Vandy vets,” Jones said. “This is a wonderful example of the university’s ongoing commitment to developing and promoting resources that support the unique health and wellness needs of everyone in our community.”

Please email Francis at to RSVP for the program sessions.