The MyVA Cascadia Board recently approved its Charter. Please find it here and on the site:
My VA Cascadia is dedicated to developing meaningful resource partnerships with established community organizations and programs focused on meeting the needs of the diverse veteran population in the VA Portland Health Care System catchment area. We will work to ensure that veterans of all eras have access to healthcare, supportive services and information and benefits earned through their military service.
My VA Cascadia will realize the mission by:
Facilitating town halls throughout the catchment area to gain comprehensive feedback from veterans and their family members.
Social media outreach
Utilizing formal and informal networks to support veterans
Gathering feedback from Veterans that helps to initiate changes at the VA
Educating stakeholders about VA programs and services
Educating VA about available community programs and services
Forwarding concerns from partner organizations and others to the VA.
Core Values of MyVA Cascadia
- We respect every veteran’s service and sacrifice without exception.
- We recognize the sacrifice of dependents and families of Veterans and honor dependents and families for their dedication and support of their Veteran.
- We believe Veterans are not adversaries when seeking veteran benefits.
- We take seriously VA’s original mission stated by President Abraham Lincoln, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.”
- Anyone who has served in the armed forces (no matter era, duty station, discharge status, gender, or geographical location) is a valued member of our community and will not be left behind.
- The quality of a Veteran’s life matters and our goal is to ensure the highest quality of life for every Veteran we serve.
- Identify and establish relationships with the following community sectors: business, non-profit, public, faith-based, community service, and education.
- Establish a resource and referral system within the VA Portland Health Care System catchment area to provide Veterans easy access to both VA and community resources. Create a “No Wrong Door” philosophy with partners that dictates that when a veteran is looking for service the veteran is never told, “You’re in the wrong place.” Instead, the Veteran is given a “warm handshake” to the right provider.
- Expand VA outreach to meet Veterans where they are, whether in their communities, at their worksites, or at a VA outreach location. Survey these Veterans to determine their needs from their point of view. Take seriously their complaints and issues. Determine if issues are anecdotal or systemic and then apply the appropriate solution.
Co-Chairs and board members work in collaboration with the larger Veteran stakeholder community to improve Veteran outcomes through board meetings, public forums, and solution development by leveraging networks and enhanced understandings of Veteran issues. Co-Chairs and board members have no additional authorities by virtue of board membership. VA representatives on the MyVA Cascadia board function under the limitations outlined in their respective positions. The MyVA Cascadia board has no implicit or explicit authority to change the function and/or policies of any governmental or non-governmental entity. The MyVA Cascadia board is a forum for open communication and community engagement between board members and the Veteran stakeholder community
MyVA Cascadia will promote and support opportunities to benefit Veterans and the community. MyVA Cascadia will ensure an open line of communication between Veterans, VA, and community stakeholders. Veterans and local community members will be informed about local VA and community strategies and initiatives. The MyVA Cascadia Board will identify and address issues relevant to Veterans in the VA Portland Healthcare System catchment area. Examples of specific issues the MyVA Cascadia may address include, but are not limited to: Women Veterans’ issues, homelessness, mental health resources, Veteran employment, and Student Veterans issues.
Membership: The Board will consist of 15-20 members. The Board will have a representative from VHA, VBA, and NCA. Additional participants may be included in meetings by invitation of the MyVA Cascadia. Board members will be appointed for 2-year terms and have the opportunity to serve consecutive terms. Co-chairs will serve 3-year terms with the opportunity to serve consecutive terms. For initial formation of the board, Co-chairs will be appointed by the Directors of VBA, VHA, and NCA. Subsequently, co-chairs will be appointed by MyVA Cascadia Board members. To fill a board vacancy, the co-chairs and three board members will select a prospective board member. To promote diversity, board members will be selected based on their service background, area of expertise and geographic location
MyVA Cascadia will hold a minimum of six board meetings per year and host a minimum of two town halls per year. Meetings can be conducted as regular meetings, special meetings, and via the internet or telephone as long as there is a quorum of 8. Proxies may be counted in the quorum. Proxy holders may vote on all questions if the proxy is a general proxy. If the proxy is a limited proxy, they may vote only on all questions listed on the limited proxy. A special meeting can be called by Co-Chairs. Regular board meetings will not be open to the public. The Board may invite subject matter experts into meetings when appropriate. Board members may add issues to the agenda via the Co-Chair, ideally submitted in writing a minimum of 24 hours prior to the meeting. Minutes will be taken at each board meeting.
Town Halls are inclusive of all stakeholders, service providers, Veterans, and other interested parties, regardless of membership in the MyVA Cascadia board. Town Halls will be rotated among public venues within the geographic boundaries of the VA Portland Health Care System catchment area to ensure opportunity for maximum participation. Town Halls will be held in a recognized public place which is easily accessible with adequate parking and public transportation in urban areas. Locations will have handicap access. Town Halls will be held after business hours.
Board Member Conduct:
- Always be polite and respectful to other board members and the public
- Never question the motives of another board member
- If at all possible, discuss issues with which you disagree with board members before board meetings in an attempt to hash out differences
- Always put what is best for the Veteran first in all decision making
- Remember that you represent the board and Oregon Veterans in general in all you do so act professionally at all times
- Once a vote has been made, the full board will do work together to implement the results regardless of an individual board member’s position before the vote.
- Board members will ensure that their personal agendas do not interfere with the work of the board
- If a board member has a conflict of interest in some area on which the board is working, that board member will announce the conflict and recuse himself/herself from voting
- Board members will refrain from disparaging any organization – including VA – or individual veteran
Co-Chairs may appoint subcommittees to the Board. These subcommittees meet at their discretion. Decisions of the subcommittee will be brought to the full board for discussion and approval.
MyVA Cascadia will publicize public forums through various venues including posting information through online mediums (e.g. email listservs, social media) and in physical locations through the use of promotional materials and other collateral. MyVA Cascadia will also leverage local public affairs professionals and other professional networks to promote maximum attendance.
Board members consent to having their image used as part of MyVA Cascadia promotion activities. Photos and audiovisual recordings of Board members may be released to the media as well as utilized on MyVA Cascadia websites, blogs, and social media sites.