VA VITAL Program Serves Veterans on Campus
RMU is the first university in Allegheny County to offer an on-site psychologist solely for veterans.
Veterans enrolled at Robert Morris University now have a licensed psychologist on duty on campus to offer them counseling and other assistance.
The program, known as Veterans Integration To Academic Leadership (VA VITAL), serves approximately 140 RMU students eligible for veterans healthcare benefits. The program is funded for at least five years through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Military culture is so structured and formal, and college can be very unstructured, so being able to help navigate that transition and reintegrate into civilian life is very important,” said Sabrina Hakim, VITAL program psychologist at the RMU Center for Veterans and Military Families.
Hakim will provide a variety of counseling services to RMU student veterans, including therapy and workshops to teach coping strategies and stress management. She also will help student veterans coordinate care they receive or require from a primary care provider or psychiatrist. In addition, Hakim will offer training this fall to faculty and staff about specific needs of student veterans.
She is from the Detroit area and earned her doctorate in psychology from the University of Indianapolis. She has spent the last three years working at VA hospitals, first in Indianapolis, then Detroit, and more recently in Pittsburgh.
RMU is the first higher education institution in Allegheny County, and the fourth statewide, to offer the VITAL program.
“The acronym ‘VITAL’ is rather appropriate, as it provides the truly vital services of on-site direct clinical care, VA care coordination, and community outreach,” said David Ausman, director of the center. “VA VITAL and Dr. Hakim are a valued addition to the wrap-around services RMU provides to our student veterans as they successfully transition from service member to civilian and from academics to a fulfilling career."