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VA NY Harbor Health Care System


Veterans Integration To Academic Leadership (VITAL)

VITAL logo
Students Discuss the VITAL Program

Almost Sunrise

Caring for the Military - A Guide for Helping Professionals

A new textbook written by our staff entitled Caring for the Military - A Guide for Helping Professionals has been released. Chapter contributions include Dr. Branson on Military Cultural Competency; Drs. Michelson and Chen on Caring for Caregivers: Understanding and Helping Those who Support the Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan; Dr. Jackson on Veterans and Suicide: Risk Factors, Assessment and Treatment; Dr. Cuesta on TBI from Blast Explosions: Applications for Non-DOD/VA Mental Health Clinicians; and Dr. Yan on Traditional and Whole Health and Patient Centered Care at the VHA - An Overview. More information on the book.

What is VITAL?

Veterans Integration To Academic Leadership is VA’s approach to reaching out to student Veterans to help facilitate the transition from service member to student.

The VITAL Initiative is a partnership between VA New York Harbor Healthcare System and local colleges and universities. We’re here to help you navigate your needs and concerns and maximize your unique set of strengths, skills and life experiences as you develop and translate your interests and talents into the academic setting.

As a Veteran did you know?

  • You have access to VA on campus to navigate VA services and benefits:
    Available Monday-Friday 9am-4:30pm
    Yvette Branson, (646) 772-6087
  • You have an ally at school who understands your unique needs as a student Veteran.



  • Free tutoring through Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and Peer Mentoring
  • VA Work Study opportunities
  • Counseling and ongoing treatment for readjustment, stress, anger, depression, anxiety and sleep problems.
  • Refer and work with the university to request academic accommodations.
  • Coping strategies for classroom difficulties -- attention, concentration, restlessness.
  • Assist with enrollment and care at VA New York Harbor Healthcare System.
  • Obtain help and resources from within the VA and its affiliates including Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and Vocational Rehabilitation Services.
  • Tai Chi and Distress Tolerance Groups

Academic Faculty/Staff

  • Education for college/university staff about Military & Veteran culture.
  • Consult about Veteran-specific issues that impact performance and academic success.
  • Work with college/university counseling centers in serving the unique readjustment needs of Veterans.
  • Assist with communication between VA New Harbor Healthcare System and college/university staff about your concerns, resources and needs.

What to Expect

  • VITAL will maintain absolute confidentiality.
  • Prompt response to phone or email inquiries about the VITAL program.
  • Veteran-centered perspective keeping the Veteran’s well-being and best interest in mind.
  • The primary goal of the program is to support the Veteran’s efforts to complete your education as you transition to civilian life.

Summer 2017 tabling for VITAL at Lerner Hall at Columbia's Morningside Campus. Left is Richard Lo, Navy, and right is Kyle Gauck, Army. VITAL Table Week Dr. Yvette Branson, Coordinator, VA’s VITAL program with Charles Rangel. Dr. Yvette Branson, Coordinator, VA’s VITAL program and J.R. Martinez, Iraq Veteran. Dr. Yvette Branson, Clinical Psychologist, with VA Secretary Robert McDonald meeting with student Veterans at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. A Marine Corps Veteran, a student and a Work Study student at Fordham University.

Summer 2017 VITAL Tabling, Lerner Hall, Columbia's Morningside Campus. Richard Lo (l), Navy, & Kyle Gauck, Army.

VITAL Table Week

Dr. Yvette Branson, Coordinator, VA’s VITAL program with Charles Rangel.

Dr. Branson & Veteran Martinez. Read full story.

Dr. Branson, VA Secretary McDonald & student Veterans at John Jay College.

A Marine Corps Veteran, student & Work Study student at Fordham University. Read full story.


Yvette Branson, PhD
Coordinator, VITAL Initiative
VA NY Harbor Healthcare System
VITAL Brochure

Related Resources

Mobile Apps
Related Stories

VITAL Campuses

• College of New Rochelle (VITAL)
• Columbia University (VITAL)
• CUNY – Baruch (VITAL)
• CUNY – Borough of Manhattan Community College (VITAL)
• CUNY – York (VITAL)
• Fordham University (VITAL)
• CUNY Queens College
• CUNY Queensborough Community College
• School of Visual Arts
• NY Film Academy
• CUNY John Jay
• CUNY Laguardia Community College
• Pace University
• New York University
• DeVry College
• St. Johns University

Community Partnerships

• DE-CRUIT/Cry Havoc
• Hire Purpose Employment Resources
• Service Women\'s Action Network (SWAN)
• Team Red, White and Blue-workouts
• Urban Justice Veterans Advocacy Project

Community Events

Events Calendar


VITAL Brochure

Make the Connection

Contact Info


  • See Vital Campuses List Below

Contact Number(s)

  • 646-772-6087

Hours of Operation

  • Monday-Friday