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UPJ's Murtha center set to host veterans summit

Tribune-Democrat - 9/8/2017

Sept. 08--The first symposium ever held at the John P. Murtha Center for Public Service and National Competitiveness will, quite appropriately, deal with helping veterans.

On Thursday, the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown plans to host the James E. Van Zandt VAMC Health and Wellness Community Summit during which numerous subjects that impact veterans will be discussed.

Those issues were near and dear to Murtha, the longest serving congressman from Pennsylvania and two-time Purple Heart recipient from his days in the Marine Corps.

"We're excited to have this be the kickoff event," said Tammy Barbin, UPJ's executive director of community and public relations.

The program is scheduled to include presentations about legislative issues, access to care, suicide prevention, moral injury and teaching kids to cope.

Scheduled speakers include Murtha's widow, Joyce Murtha; state Rep. Bryan Barbin; University of Pittsburgh Center for Military Medicine Research Executive Director Ronald Poropatich; and retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Thomas Jones, founder and executive director of Outdoor Odyssey and Semper Fi Odyssey.

Poropatich plans to discuss work being done by the center that develops new research themes, promotes collaboration among investigators, supports medical research interests of the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, and explores research technologies and therapeutic strategies.

The center's work not only benefits military personnel, but it also "has direct civilian application as well," according to Poropatich.

The summit is free and open to the public. Registration is set to begin at 8:30 a.m.

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5056. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Sutor.

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