Skip to main content

Macomb Community College, Detroit VA Healthcare System to hold Aug. 13 event on health care resources available to veterans

– Tuesday, August 4, 2015 12:00AM

Frederick J. Frese, veteran, psychologist and mental health advocate, will talk about his experience treating and recovering from mental illness

Macomb Community College, in partnership with the Detroit VA Healthcare System, is hosting a free event for veterans, their family members and other community stakeholders to highlight health care resources available to veterans.

Making the VA Work for You will be held on Thursday, Aug. 13, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the John Lewis Student Community Center (K Building), 14500 E. 12 Mile Road (corner of Hayes Road) in Warren. To register, email the names of participants to For more information, call 313.576.2400. 

James Jacobs, president of Macomb Community College, will provide welcoming remarks. A panel discussion will follow, with representatives of Detroit VA Healthcare providing an overview of available services, including access, primary care and mental health treatment. Panelists will be:

Dr. Raghuram Matta, deputy chief of staff; Dr. Bella Schanzer, associate chief of staff, mental health services; Michelle Werner, chief of clinical operations, and Dr. Michelle Buda Abela, chief of psychology and director of outpatient mental health.

A luncheon keynote address will be delivered at noon by Dr. Frederick J. Frese, who will discuss his experience with mental health care as a psychologist and a patient. Decades ago, while a young Marine Corps officer, Frese was diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent the next 10 years in and out of mental hospitals. Despite his disability, Frese earned a degree in international business management from the American Graduate School of International Management in Phoenix, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology from Ohio University. He served   for 15 years as director of psychology at Western Reserve Psychiatric Hospital, one of Ohio's largest psychiatric hospitals. He also serves as coordinator of the Summit County Ohio Recovery Project. 

Before and after lunch, break-out sessions will be offered on: caregiver support-services for families, recognizing the signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and actions that can be taken, suicide prevention, and mental health recovery.

“Macomb Community College has an ongoing commitment to support our community’s veterans,” said Geary Maiuri, Macomb’s dean of student and community services.  “Our annual partnership with the Detroit VA Healthcare System to hold a veterans event is designed to provide information about vital services that could change or even save lives.”

Named by G.I. Jobs magazine as one of its Military Friendly Schools for 2015, Macomb provides assistance and support to veterans, reservists and their dependents, including:

  • A direct point of contact to help navigate VA, college and community systems.
  • Assistance with figuring out and maximizing GI Bill and tuition assistance benefits.
  • Accommodating policies and assistance when military orders impact their semester.
  • Connections to community resources.
  • Connections to college resources such as tutoring opportunities, counseling and advising appointments, career building and resume writing, stress and time management counseling, and financial aid counseling.
  • Scholarships specifically for veterans, service members and their family members.
  • A student veterans’ organization that acts as a support group for veterans and their families.

About Detroit VA Healthcare System
Since 1939, the Detroit VA Healthcare System has been improving the health of the men and women who have served our nation. Services are available to the more than 330,000 veterans living in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and St. Clair counties.  This population represents approximately 44 percent of the veteran population in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. For more information, visit   

About Macomb Community College
Macomb Community College ( is one of the nation’s leading community colleges, providing learning experiences to more than 48,000 students annually. Macomb nationally ranks in the top two percent in the number of associate degrees awarded by community colleges. The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor-degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities. 

Media Contact
: James Melton, 586.445.7271,