Northeast Passage, the UNH program that provides innovative therapeutic recreation solutions for individuals with disabilities, has received a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation to expand its PATH™ (Promoting Access Transition and Health) model of community-based recreation therapy in New England.
The PATH model was developed by Northeast Passage in 1998 as part of a research study with individuals who experience spinal cord injury. It was adopted via contract with the VA Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 2005 for veterans who experience physical disability. PATH has been expanded and refined since 2014 with grant support from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, Veterans Affairs and Operation Hat Trick to successfully treat more than 600 veterans with both visible disabilities and invisible injuries related to military service.
The PATH model is a health promotion intervention delivered in the veteran’s home and local community. This complementary, integrative health practice is a unique model of service delivery that combines recreation and community engagement, symptom management, wellness education and psychosocial supports to address the complex needs of veterans and their families.
It will support the training and supervision of recreational therapists in New England to provide reimbursable PATH care to veterans in northern New Hampshire and Vermont.
Now more than ever, Veterans Affairs is focused on identifying evidenced-based healthcare solutions that address personal, social and environmental factors that impact health outcomes. The PATH™ model aligns with these priorities. Recent amendments to Veterans Choice, a legislated provision with federally appropriated funds that allows veterans to receive healthcare from community providers, allowed Northeast Passage to become the first Recreation Therapy Veterans Choice provider in December 2017. For Northeast Passage, the change to Veterans Choice reimbursement provides a sustainable funding source for this program. It also provides opportunity to increase access to the PATH model to a greater number of veterans across the country.
Northeast Passage previously received funding from the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) to increase capacity for this program in New Hampshire. This current BWF grant supports the vision to increase access to this program in other geographic areas. It will support the training and supervision of recreational therapists in New England to provide reimbursable PATH care to veterans in northern New Hampshire and Vermont. It will also provide a model for wider expansion of this program in subsequent years.
“Rural areas often feature fewer social opportunities and support services for veterans. By offering an avenue to accessing these resources, the PATH™ model is a great example of a program that is filling the gaps in an effort to ensure our veterans thrive in the next chapter of their lives,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, executive director of BWF. “We are proud to continue supporting the great work Northeast Passage is accomplishing through its PATH™ model expansion.”
The Bob Woodruff Foundation was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. The foundation has invested more than $55 million to programs that empower impacted veterans, service members and their families.
PATH aligns with BWF’s priorities to leverage its expertise and collaborative network to find, fund and shape innovative programs that help our impacted veterans, service members and their families thrive.
“Receiving a grant from BWF is an honor that recognizes the effectiveness of this model and the dedication and focus of our staff and supporters,” said Jill Gravink, executive director of Northeast Passage. “We are pleased to receive this award alongside some the top veteran organizations in the country.”