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First Lady Jill Biden ​Visits Military Family Clinic In Oceanside



First Lady Jill Biden visited the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic in Oceanside on Saturday afternoon to participate in a roundtable discussion on the health and well-being of veterans and military families.

The First Lady has toured over 24 military installations to highlight her work with the Joining Forces initiative to increase and raise awareness of resources and support for military and veteran families, caregivers, and survivors.

Upon arrival at the clinic, Dr. Biden did a quick meet and greet with staff from the Cohen Veterans Network and local officials including Mayor Esther Sanchez, who welcomed "Jill", as she introduced herself, to Oceanside.

The roundtable discussion included military family members, service providers, and local military leadership from Camp Pendleton.

In her opening remarks, the First Lady talked about the Chinese balloon that was shot down. "We're more aware of the military when we're in times of war, but now we're in times of peace. And, just like this morning, if any of you were watching the TV, where they were following the, you know, the balloon from China, and we saw the effort that our military did. I mean, I felt such a sense of pride about the effort and that our military, you know, shot down the balloon, how coordinated it was, how thoughtful it was, that it was decided to wait until it was over water so that civilians weren't affected."

"So you know, it brings to mind and I hope that most Americans - I hope when they watch that they really think just, you know, about our military. I mean, Joe and I think about them every day, we pray for them in our prayers at dinner."

During the roundtable, Biden heard firsthand about the services the clinic provides including free mental health services and child care.

She talked about how mental health needs became part of Joining Forces thanks to a conversation she had with her son Beau Biden:

"We have to support our military in peacetime as well. And when my son Beau was in Iraq, he saw soldiers who were there several times, several deployments, and he saw the effect that war had on the soldiers and when he came home, I can remember we were in the kitchen and I said, Beau, I was telling you about the Joining Forces initiative that Michelle Obama and I started and I said, What do you think we should work on? And he said, Mom, you know, I've seen so many soldiers through so many deployments that he said, I really think you need to work on mental health. And I was struck by that, you know, I just I didn't expect him to say that."

After the roundtable, Dr. Biden took photos with the group and chatted with Dylan, the son of Colonel Daniel Whitley, United States Marine Corps, Assistant Chief of Staff G-7, who participated in the roundtable.

"I hope you enjoy the rest of your Saturday," she told him. "You have beautiful weather. I just talked to my husband and he said it's about 17 degrees back there."

Later, Mayor Sanchez commented that "I'm so glad the focus was on the mental health of our active, veterans and military families."

After leaving Oceanside, Biden made a quick stop at Camp Pendleton before hopping aboard Executive One Foxtrot for Los Angeles, where she's scheduled to present at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards.

During her visit to the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic in Oceanside, Dr. Biden was joined by:

  • Dr. Anthony Hassan, President and CEO of Cohen Veterans Network
  • Shari Finney, Regional Clinic Director, Cohen Clinics at Veterans Village of San Diego
  • Akina Goodson, Case Manager / Outreach Coordinator
  • Shivonne, Former Client of Cohen Veterans Network
  • Brittany, Former Client of Cohen Veterans Network
  • Colonel Daniel Whitley, United States Marine Corps, Assistant Chief of Staff G‐7,
  • Government & External Affairs MCI‐West‐ MCB Camp Pendleton
  • Dr. Mary Rotert, Licensed Psychologist, Program Manager of the Camp Pendleton Community Counseling Center (CCC)
  • Akilah Thompson, CEO, Veterans Village of San Diego
  • Representative Sara Jacobs (D, CA-51)
  • Mayor Esther Sanchez, City of Oceanside, CA
  • San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher

The First Lady’s work and priorities of Joining Forces are informed by the life experiences and the perspectives shared during listening sessions with military families. A recap of the initiative’s efforts in 2022 is available on the White House’s Joining Forces blog.

Read the full article here.