Area briefs

VA Medical Center to host summit

The Van Zandt VA Medical Center will hold a Health & Wellness Community Summit on Thursday at the John P. Murtha Center for Public Service & National Competitiveness on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

Topics will include suicide prevention, teaching children to cope, advanced treatments for injured service members and access to care and services for veterans.

A panel of experts will speak and answer questions from the audience. Guests include retired Col. Ronald Poropatich, M.D., executive director of the Center for Military Medicine Research at the University of Pittsburgh, and retired Major Gen. Thomas S. Jones, USMC, founder and executive director of Outdoor Odyssey and Semper Fi Odyssey. Registration is from 8:30 to 9 a.m., and the program runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Contact for more information.

September is Veteran Suicide Prevention Month.

An average of 20 veterans per day die from suicide in the U.S., according to a Van Zandt news release.

Veterans account for 18 percent of adult suicides in the U.S.

Two-thirds of those suicides were from firearms.

VA suicide prevention websites include, and

Luksik to speak to GOP women

The Blair County Republican Women will host longtime conservative activist and education expert Peg Luksik at its Tuesday dinner meeting at Hoss’s Steak & Sea House in Altoona.

Luksik’s talk is titled, “When did our children become guinea pigs?”

Members and guests should arrive by 6 p.m. to order dinner off the menu.

The event is open to the public.

Email to make reservations or for more information.