Every day, many veterans and their families are living with the mental and physical scars from serving their country during military service. The Cohen Veterans Network, Inc., (CVN) a not-for-profit philanthropic organization, was created to serve them by providing high-quality, accessible, and integrated mental health care. Through client-centered, customized outpatient care, they support veterans and their families as they begin their next mission: healthy and happy lives.
Two of the College’s graduating MSSW students have been selected as Cohen Fellows this year. They are Jessie Eisenmann Klamar and David D’Han Smith.
The Cohen Veterans Network is advancing the field of veteran’s mental health by cultivating a generation of clinicians across professional disciplines. In an effort to generate a pipeline of highly-trained students who can enter the clinical field ready to serve, CVN makes every effort to offer opportunities for graduating scholars who chose to continue to professionally serve veterans and their families at a Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic. Cohen Fellows are former MSW students who have access to advanced training, specialty supervision, and tailored exposure to our veteran and military population while gaining their clinical hours for licensure. Fellows are individuals who have completed a clinical social work internship at a CVN clinic.
David D’Han Smith is a retired United States Army Veteran who became interested in Social Work while working as Clarksville Police Officer. He completed his BSW at Austin Peay State University and began the MSSW program at UT in pursuit of a Trauma Treatment Graduate Certificate.
Smith began UT as an extended study student at the Nashville Campus and continued working at the Montgomery County Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) until he transitioned to the online program.
In August of 2019 he completed his Concentration Field Practice at The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone. He said, “The Cohen Clinic offered me the opportunity to work with clinicians from several disciplines and fulfill my desire to provide mental health services to Veterans and military families. I truly am excited to be presented with this opportunity to continue learning in such a quality mental health environment. After the semester, I plan to study for the LMSW exam and continue working part-time at the Veterans Treatment Court, which I began in January of this year. My time as a Cohen Fellow begins this summer and continues until August 2022. My career goal is to become a trauma focused clinician that serves the military population in the Ft. Campbell area.”
Jessie Eisenmann Klamar is graduating from the MSSW program, attending first at the Nashville campus and then transferring to the Online MSSW Program. Her journey to social work began seven years ago when her older brother Jason, an OIF USMC veteran, died by suicide. After his death, she decided to dedicate her professional life to providing hope and healing for struggling veterans.
She studied in Nashville for her first three semesters in the MSSW (EBIP concentration) program, then switched to the online program for her final semester.
During her time in the program, Jessie has been a stellar student. In the Spring of 2019, she won the NASW Social Work Day on the Hill policy analysis competition with a presentation about legislation that would allow nonviolent offenders with children to avoid incarceration. After that, she was awarded the TIPS Scholarship from the Thomas Jefferson Graduate Non-Endowed Fund.
In August 2019, Jessie started a clinical internship at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone in Clarksville, a non-profit community mental health clinic for post 9/11 veterans and their family members. In March of 2020, she was awarded the UTK Chancellor’s Honor for Extraordinary Professional Promise, which acknowledges graduate students with professional promise in teaching or research.
Jessie’s plan is to take the LMSW exam as soon as she can, then begin working on her LCSW at the Cohen Clinic. After that, she would like to pursue a DSW or PhD in social work, focusing her research on some aspect of veteran mental health. Jessie states, “I look forward to giving back to the community of social work education! I’m inspired by all of the excellent professors I had the pleasure of working with these past two years.”