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Pace Nurses Join Forces With Michelle Obama

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. - Pace University's Lienhard School of Nursing is among only 20 nursing schools nationwide invited to join first lady Michelle Obama at her annual Joining Forces event in 2012.

The initiative, which Obama created with second lady Jill Biden last year, consists of nearly 500 universities that have vowed to focus on treatment for returning soldiers.

“It is a privilege and honor to support this special initiative," said Dr. Harriet Feldman, former dean of the Lienhard School of Nursing who is currently the university’s interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

Joining Forces is not Pace's first foray into military treatment. During Feldman's tenure as dean, Pace was one of 12 nursing programs that participated in the Veterans Affairs Nursing Academy.

“Our veterans have given their all in support of countless missions, and we owe them the opportunity to be whole again, in body, mind and spirit," said Feldman, who plans on working on the initiative closely with Dr. Gerrie Colombraro, the school's interim dean.

Much of the initiative will focus on combating "invisible wounds" from war such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and depression. According to Joining Forces, the mental health disorders impact approximately one in six American troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Obama launched Joining forces with Biden in April 2011 and plans to have the lesson plans integrated into the nursing schools, including Pace, by 2014. On Wednesday night, Obama appeared on The Colbert Report to discuss the initiative on its one-year anniversary.

"Jill Biden and I started this initiative to make sure that this country, which is a grateful nation, that we make sure we do whatever we can to honor the service of our troops, our veterans and their families," Obama said on the program.

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