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Thank You for Your Service

Upstate Veterans

Upstate Medical University is proud of the contributions of its more than 200 veterans – including faculty, staff, residents and students.

Get involved or learn more

Veteran initiatives are strengthening at Upstate. Members of the Upstate community interested in getting involved or just learning more can inquire using the Veteran's Information Form below.

Upstate Veterans Organization Recognized and Active

Thanks to efforts by students and faculty, Upstate Medical University has an “official” organization for veterans and those studying in the Health Professions Scholarship Program. In 2018, the university’s student government recognized Upstate Veterans and HPSP Students, known as UV & HPSP.

Since then, members of the organization have been active, supporting volunteer efforts in the community.

UV & HPSP members helped Honor Flight this spring. Honor Flight provides  opportunities for veterans who served in conflicts to visit memorials in Washington along with escorts. UV & HPSP Students volunteered a Saturday in April to assist with controlling the crowds as veterans and their escorts returned to Syracuse following the visit.

UV & HPSP members have also volunteered at one of Central New York’s most well regarded veteran service organizations, Clear Path for Veterans. Veterans, along with current service members, turn to Clear Path in Chittenango to learn skills and build camaraderie. UV & HPSP members helped prepare the organization’s annual Thanksgiving feast.

UV & HPSP members note that the Thanksgiving meal addresses a particular concern for veterans, some 15 percent of whom lack consistent access to safe and nutrient-rich food.

Along with volunteering, UV & HPSP members organized a conference, “Health Care for our Veterans.” It was an opportunity for learning for students and faculty members that included presentations from Dr. Harminder Grewal, Women’s Health Medical Director and Whole Health Clinic Director at the Syracuse VA Medical Center, and  Dr. William Marx, Hospital Director of Hospital Administration and Division Chief of Trauma/Critical Care. 

Grewal’s presentation focused on the capacity of the Veterans Health Administration. Currently, “24 out of 160 VAs don’t have women’s health care,” she said. Despite that, there has been a “154 percent increase in the number of women accessing the VA.” In all, she said some 29 percent of women veterans are using the VA.

She discussed new initiatives to address health issues for women veterans. She stated that managing “musculoskeletal” pain and access to child care services are frequently presented to VA providers. Other health concerns that veterans seek help with include management of the effects of military sexual trauma. Attendees learned that comprehensive primary care for women veterans include LGBQT health services at the VA.

Marx, an HPSP alum and a veteran, said women have a long history of military service in America.  “Women have been in combat since [the] revolutionary war,” he said. Despite this, the earlier VA left out women.  He spoke of his personal and family experience in the military and shared that veterans “ don’t need medications most of the time … they need someone to talk to.”

Current UV & HPSP President Dennis Huff is a second-year student in the College of Medicine training to serve in the Air Force. He said the organization plans to continue it volunteer and other activities and invited veterans to learn join or get more information by emailing [email protected]. “We encourage all Upstate veterans and HPSP students to reach out and join our organization,” Huff said. “It’s a great way to meet new people while giving back to veterans in the community.”

Veterans at Upstate University Hospital, got your pin?

US flag pinIn 2018 Veterans working at Upstate University Hospital were recognized with flag pins.

If you are a veteran working at the hospital and did not receive a pin, please let us know so we can get you one. You can email Laurie Nicoletti at [email protected].


Profile: Louise Pernisi - Nursing Alum and Army Vet Louise Pernisi

Louise Pernisi

Louise Pernisi

The military prepared Louise Pernisi RN, MS, CNS, CCM, CDMS for a multifaceted career as a nurse, case manager, teacher, clinical nurse specialist, disability management specialist, and now, adjunct professor.

"The ability to multi-task, identify a need and step in relates to the military," said Pernisi, an Army Corps nurse from 1985 to 1989. She served in the Reserves for three years until fulfilling her obligation, and joined University Hospital in 2002. She earned her master's degree in nursing from Upstate in 2006 and earned her Clinical Nurse Specialist certification that same year.

(Read more)

Profile: Howard McLymond - From Ramadi to Radiology

2 soldiers with 2 kids in Ramadi

Howard McLymond, left, during his service in Iraq

Howard McLymond’s left arm tells a story. Covering most of the length of the outside of his forearm is a detailed tattoo of firefighters doing their job.

On the inside of his forearm, is one of combat Marines, accompanied by a fierce-looking dog, doing theirs.

McLymond is a volunteer firefighter in Palermo, where he and his family live. A decade ago, he was a U.S. Marine Infantry Assaultman in Iraq.

Serving in the infantry from 2006 to 2010, McLymond did two tours in Iraq, including one in Ramadi, a center of insurgency in that country.

(Read more)

Profile: Bridgette Williams - From AWACs to CASPH

Bridgette Williams

Bridgette Williams

Bridgette Williams lived in Chicago and had interviewed for a job as a medical artist – creating illustrations for biology and medical applications. She had received an offer with a company in her native New York City. But history intervened in the form of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Her mother, a nurse in New York, told Williams that it was not a good time to start her career in New York City.

Instead, she joined the Air Force and found herself working with electronics in high-flying AWACs, military planes that provide surveillance, early warning and control. When she was honorably discharged in 2004 she returned to Chicago. Making the most of Illinois state V.A. benefits for veterans, she became a full-time student at the University of Illinois in Chicago. In 2008, she completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, following in her mother’s footsteps.

(Read more)