From the office of Joe Kennedy III:
On the eve of Memorial Day weekend, Congressman Joe Kennedy III Thursday announced the formation of his Veteran’s Advisory Board. The Board is comprised of veterans, service officers, health care professionals, educators and other advocates across the 4th District. The group has been tasked with outlining a set of local and national priorities for the Congressman related to veteran’s services.
“Every Memorial Day we are reminded of the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform – and the responsibility we have to make sure they’re taken care of when they come home,” said Congressman Kennedy. “Over the course of my first few months in office we have heard too many stories of veterans across the district having trouble accessing the benefits they have earned. Addressing these concerns is a priority for me moving forward, and I’m honored to have so many committed advocates from the 4th District join my advisory board.”
To date, the group’s steering committee has met once in the Congressman’s Newton office and once in his Attleboro Office. A third meeting is planned for June 11. The initial Board includes the following individuals:
John MacGillivray – Veteran’s Service Officer, Newton
John, who has been Newton's VSO since 2009, was recently presented with the Outstanding Veterans' Agent of the Year award by the Massachusetts Veterans' Service Officers Association. His efforts include organizing a food and supply drive for soldiers serving in Afghanistan, arranging Flag Day and Memorial Day ceremonies as well as hosting a local television program -- Sound Off -- that focuses on issues affecting veterans. He is a veteran of the Marine Corps.
Seth Bai – Veteran’s Service Officer, Seekonk
Seth grew up in South Eastern Massachusetts, graduating from Bishop Feehan H.S. in 1996. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1998. His first six years were served in an amphibious raid unit out of Camp Pendleton, CA. He deployed three times with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit based out of Okinawa. Seth’s last deployment was in support of OIF/ the Road to Baghdad. The next four years Seth spent were as a recruiter here in Massachusetts until his medical discharge/early retirement. Seth has served as a Veteran Service Officer for four years in Seekonk, Mass. He currently sits on the Executive Board for the Massachusetts Veterans Service Officers Association. He is a recent graduate from Boston College with a degree in social science.
Heather Cheetham – Veteran’s Service Officer, Somerset
Heather is a full time VSO in a town with a population 17,500. She has been the VSO since June 2010. Heather also sits on the Executive Board for the Massachusetts Veterans Service Officer Association. She hosts Veterans Day and the Memorial Day Parade and ceremonies in her town.
She served in the US Navy for four years and served two years as a reserve in Desert Storm. Her husband is a Merchant Marine
Dr. Robert Kinscherff – National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP)
Dr. Kinscherff is a forensic and clinical psychologist and an attorney who has been a member of the MSPP faculty since 1999 and is MSPP’s Associate Vice President for Community Relations. He is Senior Associate for the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice and a member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. Dr. Kinscherff has previously served as Director of Clinical Services for Easter Seals of New Hampshire, Assistant Commissioner for Forensic Mental Health (Massachusetts Department of Mental Health), Director of Juvenile Court Clinic Services (Administrative Office of the Juvenile Court, MA Trial Court), and Director of Adult Forensic Services (Psychiatry and Law Program, Massachusetts General Hospital). For over a decade, he taught Forensic Mental Health Law and Psychiatry and Law at Boston University Law School. For the American Psychological Association, he has served as a past two-term Chair of the Ethics Committee (EC), Chair of the Committee on Legal Issues (COLI) and Member of the Committee on Professional Practices and Standards (COPPS).
Dr. Sandy Dixon – Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
Dr. Sandy Dixon is a licensed psychologist who has been a faculty member at MSPP since 2007. She teaches Psychology of Trauma, Meeting the Needs of Returning Veterans and Their Families, and Personality Assessment. As part of her work at MSPP, she supervisors interns at the Brenner Center in their assessment work and doctoral students at their clinical training sites. She has a private practice in Arlington, MA, where she sees adolescents and adults, and her areas of interest include trauma and attachment, working with veterans and their families, and working with lesbian, gay, and transgendered clients. She is a member of the Massachusetts Psychological Association (MPA), American Psychological Association (APA), and the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation (NESTTD).
Beth Vezina – Bristol Community College, Coordinator of Veterans Educational Services
Beth Vezina has been an advisor, in several different capacities, at Bristol Community College for over ten years. For the past four years she has served as the primary Veteran student advisor and Coordinator of Veterans Educational Services at BCC. Her main focus at Bristol is strengthening the Veterans Advisement program to ensure students are maximizing their Veterans Affairs benefits. Beth is a graduate of Bristol Community College and the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.