California State University, Long Beach
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Collaborations With VA Benefit Vets, Students, Faculty

Published: November 16, 2009

CSULB has long partnered with its next-door neighbor, the Veterans Administration Long Beach Healthcare System (VALBHS), in a variety of mutual collaborations that benefit both institutions.

The University Library is partnering with the Medical Library to share its collections with hospital patients. The pilot program will serve veterans whose conditions require relatively long treatment, focusing first upon the Spinal Cord Injury unit. The library hopes to eventually expand its service to include the Blind Center (now under construction) and possibly the Community Care facility.

VA Healthcare patients can request books, CDs, DVDs and audio books from the University Library. Requests are filled and delivered each month, and a “browsing” selection of additional titles also is included. The library’s new Playaway audio books, which include a full book pre-loaded on a small MP3 player, have proven to be especially popular. The University Library also supplies personal portable, rechargeable DVD players to the hospital so that patients can conveniently enjoy all the media that the library is delivering.

“We knew that the Long Beach Healthcare System is serving many more patients in the wake of the recent wars and we wanted to do what we could to help these veterans during their treatment and recovery,” said Roman Kochan, dean and director of Library Services at CSULB. “The hospital is a close neighbor and we hope that some of today’s patients may choose to come to CSULB as students when their tour of duty has ended.”

The CSULB Library has more than 1.2 million books, along with more than 1.5 million other materials including microforms, audiovisual and archival items, as well as print and electronic periodical titles.

Students and faculty also work with the VA facility. Robert H. Friis, chair of CSULB’s Department of Health Care Administration, is director of the CSULB-VALBHS Joint Studies Institute and is the liaison between the campus and the medical center.

The Joint Studies Institute has existed for approximately two decades to promote collaboration between the campus and the medical center, Friis said. “For example, there are several mutually beneficial initiatives for which the two sites have shared resources. The VALBHS has provided a site for medically related internships for CSULB students, giving them a practical setting for implementing knowledge gained through classroom instruction. In addition, CSULB faculty have joined with VA researchers on clinical research projects that enable CSULB faculty members to enhance their scholarly and creative activities. In return, staff from the VA have aided the campus as part-time and guest lecturers and also been involved with research projects on campus.”

One of the institute’s key activities is the annual research symposium, during which students and researchers from the campus, the VA, and the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center (LBMMC) present their health and biomedically related research. This year’s meeting took place Nov. 13 and approximately 60 research information posters were presented, including about 16 by CSULB faculty members and advanced students.

Moreover, a new CSULB Veterans University program is expanding services to veteran students. For additional information, visit www.csulb.edu/divisions/students/veterans_university/index.html.