Birmingham VA Medical Center

Birmingham VA Medical Center The Birmingham VA Health Care System provides for the health care needs of Veterans in the greater Birmingham area and it's surrounding communities.
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For more details about our services visit our website at http://www.birmingham.va.gov.

Operating as usual

DYK making a few changes to your diet and lifestyle can help to prevent diabetes? Eating on smaller plates, parking as f...
11/21/2020

DYK making a few changes to your diet and lifestyle can help to prevent diabetes? Eating on smaller plates, parking as far away as you can, and quitting smoking are just a few changes that can help to prevent diabetes. Talk with your VA registered dietitian for more tips!

#vanutrition

https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/68597/yes-you-can-prevent-diabetes/

#MaskUpAlabama #ALHospitals
11/21/2020

#MaskUpAlabama #ALHospitals

There are a lot of myths about the seasonal flu, but what are the facts? Click below to find out! #ALHospitalshttps://ww...
11/21/2020
Vaccine Myths | Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)

There are a lot of myths about the seasonal flu, but what are the facts? Click below to find out! #ALHospitals

https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/flu/myths.html

Fact: There’s no way the flu vaccine can give you an entirely separate disease (according to the CDC). In fact, the flu shot can’t even give you the flu. Some people have mild symptoms after getting the vaccine, but even if they do, the symptoms don’t last long at all.

Several community partners provided items to Veterans for Veterans Day. Thanks to AT&T Pioneers of Birmingham donated 75...
11/20/2020

Several community partners provided items to Veterans for Veterans Day. Thanks to AT&T Pioneers of Birmingham donated 75 bags of snacks, Milos’s Tea donated 960 tea and lemonade, Norton’s Florist delivered 100 single roses in vase and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. donated 110 goodie bags.

Timeline Photos
11/20/2020

Timeline Photos

The Birmingham VA Health Care System took part in the Great American Smokeout providing Veterans and staff with smoking ...
11/20/2020

The Birmingham VA Health Care System took part in the Great American Smokeout providing Veterans and staff with smoking cessation education materials, Whole Health information, flu shots and more.

The Great American Smokeout is a one-day event that encourages Americans to begin a smoke-free life. If you are struggli...
11/19/2020
Quit Tobacco | How To Quit Smoking or Smokeless Tobacco

The Great American Smokeout is a one-day event that encourages Americans to begin a smoke-free life. If you are struggling with quitting smoking, click the link below or call (insert your hospital resources). #ALHospitals

https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/guide-quitting-smoking.html

To have the best chance of quitting smoking and staying a non-smokier, you need to know what you're up against, what your options are, and where to go for help.

11/19/2020
11/19/2020
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

With COVID-19, it’s even more important to get your #flushot. Get your no-cost flu shot at a VA medical facility or in-network community location near you today.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
11/18/2020

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

VA report lists 71 top customer experience improvements and initiatives. Read more. https://bit.ly/3lJTzj9

Haven’t gotten your flu shot? What are you waiting for? Click the link below to find out where you can get the flu shot ...
11/18/2020
VaccineFinder

Haven’t gotten your flu shot? What are you waiting for? Click the link below to find out where you can get the flu shot near you! #ALHospitals

https://www.vaccinefinder.org

Vaccine Finder is a free, online service where users can search for locations that offer vaccinations.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
11/17/2020

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

VA recognized for clear, consistent communication to Veterans. Read more. https://bit.ly/2ICKY3M

For Dustin Fast, developing an advanced eye recognition software, obtaining an award for his contributions and pursuing ...
11/16/2020

For Dustin Fast, developing an advanced eye recognition software, obtaining an award for his contributions and pursuing a doctorate degree are becoming a reality.

Another grim reality for the artificial intelligence software engineer and former Army National Guard soldier is that he is working against time.

Fast, 38, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in March 2020. The neurological disorder results in progressive muscle weakness which, eventually leads to paralysis of the arms and legs.

In 2019, he began seeing a physical therapist for right hand aching and stiffness as he worked. Because his job requires a great deal of complex keyboarding and usage of his hands, he initially thought it was carpal tunnel syndrome.

After visiting Dr. Peter King, Birmingham VA Health Care System chief of Neurology, upon recommendation from his physical therapist, he received the ALS diagnosis.

A major concern of Fast is his ability to work as the disease progresses.

“I became interested in artificial intelligence and machinery at a very young age,” he said. “My work is my happy place. The majority of my day is spent using a computer and the thought of one day not being able to do it is devastating.”

Fast purchased a wearable electronic device which is used to monitor and record electrical activity of the brain with an eye tracker. The software is equipped with an on-screen keyboard. When his eye strolls across each key, it’s recognized as a keystroke, enabling him to type.

“The market software lacks the accuracy I need,” Fast said. “It also requires a lot of hand usage. Because I use the keyboard to write code, and have developed my own shortcuts, I need the better interaction between the computer and my eye movement.”

During his evenings and weekends, he works on ways to improve the eye recognition software with artificial intelligence. His goal is to develop more accurate software that would act as a brain-computer interface to better control the cursor on his screen without the use of his hands.

Fast often discusses with Dr. King his desire to develop the software and the progress he has made. In addition to VA care, King also serves as a professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
“When [Dustin] mentioned the product he was developing, I was struck by his passion for work and innovation,” King said. “We worked together for several months but I quickly realized that this project was not my area of expertise, so I contacted Dr. Yuliang Zheng, UAB chair of Computer Science. We immediately started exploring options on ways to accelerate his project.”

Fast also mentioned a lifelong dream of his was to obtain a doctorate degree. From that conversation, the idea of graduate school began to evolve. King and Zheng reached out to other colleagues at UAB including Lori McMahon, dean of the UAB Graduate School, to discuss admission options for Fast.

The university recently initiated a neuroengineering graduate program. Its co-directors, Drs. Lynn Dobrunz and Gregg Janowski, felt that it lined up well with Fast’s goals and began facilitating his matriculation. He is set to begin in January 2021 and will become the third student to enroll in the program.

King said completing a doctorate with a focus on developing the eye recognition software makes perfect sense. Essentially, his thesis started with the work he accomplished on his own. His goal is to have a fully functioning software application.

“I intend for the development of this software to not only help me, but to serve humanity,” Fast said. “It will provide an alternative to people who may not be able to operate computers or devices the traditional way, allowing them to continue to lead productive lives.”

King and others at UAB are mentoring and helping Fast along the way.

“I foresee this technology providing a great deal of help to our Veterans, especially ones returning from combat.” King said. “Many have sustained trauma to their limbs from improvised explosive devices, which can result in upper and lower extremity amputations. This can truly improve their quality of life.”

Fast is a recent recipient of the UAB Blazer Way Award, designed to highlight members of the university’s community who exemplify honor & integrity, scholarship, service, innovation and diversity. The award will supply him with four paid semesters of tuition, along with a stipend.

“This experience so far has been both challenging and amazing,” Fast said. “I want to thank Dr. King, the VA and the UAB staff for not only their help in making my dream come true, but for possibly enhancing the lives of others for years to come.”

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
11/16/2020

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Veterans Affairs health care professionals can practice across state lines. This regulation allows VA to mobilize and hire qualified people from any state and quickly place them in areas of need—especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. https://bit.ly/3kyGXtN

With flu season upon us it’s more important than ever to wear a mask. Wearing a mask protects your community from the sp...
11/16/2020

With flu season upon us it’s more important than ever to wear a mask. Wearing a mask protects your community from the spread of COVID-19, which could have a deadly impact when coupled with the seasonal flu. #ALHospitals

Dr. Robert Campbell, Chief of Mental Health at the BVAHCS, talks about the added stress of the pandemic.
11/14/2020
Veterans struggling mentally during the pandemic, how you can help

Dr. Robert Campbell, Chief of Mental Health at the BVAHCS, talks about the added stress of the pandemic.

In 2019 Alabama lost six veterans to suicide, according to the Chief of Mental Health at the Birmingham VA, Dr. Robert Campbell. Campbell said with the added stress of the pandemic, experts expect the numbers to increase nationwide.

A Veteran shares his story of recovery and service.
11/14/2020
Veteran shares story of second chances and recovery from addiction

A Veteran shares his story of recovery and service.

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBMA) - Birmingham's VA Medical Center is seeing a significant increase in veterans dealing with addiction during the pandemic. Doctors urge those suffering to reach out for help. Walter Robinson describes the years following his military service as hell. "I experienced my mother's d...

Corporal Duke shares his humbling story as a Korean War POW on Veterans Day. Thank you for your service.
11/13/2020
Cpl. Newton Duke tells his story as a POW in Korean War

Corporal Duke shares his humbling story as a Korean War POW on Veterans Day. Thank you for your service.

WVTM 13's Jeff Eliasoph spoke with Corporal Newton Duke, of Alabaster, who was captured by North Koreans in the Korean War on May 18, 1951.

11/13/2020
BGIS Veterans Day 2020.mp4

Brock's Gap Intermediate School students share thanks to our nation's heroes for Veterans Day. #BirminghamVA

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) recognized Birmingham VA Health Care System, Home-based Primary Care Clin...
11/12/2020

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) recognized Birmingham VA Health Care System, Home-based Primary Care Clinic and the Silver Service Clinics as an Age-Friendly Health System Committed to Care Excellence. BVAHCS is leading the way in making sure that every day, every older adult receives age-friendly health care. Thank you for your continued excellence caring for our Veterans.

UAB football team donated tickets to the Birmingham VA for Veterans to attend the November 14th Salute to Service game. ...
11/12/2020

UAB football team donated tickets to the Birmingham VA for Veterans to attend the November 14th Salute to Service game. Kicker Wilson Beaverstock and long snapper Jacob Fuqua presented BVAHCS Director Stacy Vasquez with the tickets.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
11/12/2020

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

VA, Prostate Cancer Foundation to expand genetic services to Veterans through nursing research pilot initiative. Read more. https://bit.ly/2Un07Is

11/11/2020

Director Stacy Vasquez salutes all Veterans on Veterans Day.

11/11/2020
Leadership hands out flowers to Inpatients for Veterans Day.  Stacy Vasquez, Director and Shawana Barnes, Acting Chief, ...
11/10/2020

Leadership hands out flowers to Inpatients for Veterans Day. Stacy Vasquez, Director and Shawana Barnes, Acting Chief, Patient Care Services visit inpatients with flowers from Norton’s Florist.

Leadership hands out flowers to Inpatients for Veterans Day.  Stacy Vasquez, Director and Shawana Barnes, Acting Chief, ...
11/10/2020

Leadership hands out flowers to Inpatients for Veterans Day. Stacy Vasquez, Director and Shawana Barnes, Acting Chief, Patient Care Services visit inpatients with flowers from Norton’s Florist.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
11/09/2020

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

VA honors caregivers of Veterans throughout November. Read more. https://bit.ly/3pbicaO

11/09/2020

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700 19th St S
Birmingham, AL
35233

The Birmingham VA provides free shuttle service from it's parking deck to the medical center.

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