Roosevelt University PsyD student Dan Flave-Novak is no stranger to the U.S. military and LGBTQ issues.
As a former aide on Capitol Hill to Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Flave-Novak helped lay the groundwork for the historic 2011 repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Act, which had barred those serving in the U.S. military from disclosing sexual orientation.
As a doctoral student since 2011 in Roosevelt’s nationally recognized PsyD program, Flave-Novak trained in several psychology and counseling departments, including Chicago’s Howard Brown Center, one of the largest LGTBQ health organizations in the nation.
His groundbreaking PsyD dissertation looks at body image in the gay community. And now that Flave-Novak has graduated from Roosevelt, he will have the rare honor of becoming one of only nine U.S. Veterans Administration post-doctoral fellows to be trained beginning later this year in helping veterans with LGBTQ mental health issues.
“I’m very excited to be a part of this new initiative, which will allow me to make a difference in the lives of veterans who have recently begun to identify as LGBTQ in the VA system,” said Flave-Novak. “I believe it will be a great opportunity for me to have influence and an impact on how the VA system works with LGBTQ veterans now and in the future,” said Flave-Novak, who will spend a year as a post-doctoral fellow at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.
So far, only 30 people have gone through the post-doctoral fellowship program that got its start about four years ago shortly after the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell at seven VA hospitals around the nation.
This year, the program is being expanded by the VA to nine of its hospitals including the Milwaukee facility where Flave-Novak will train.
“It’s very difficult to get one of these fellowships,” remarked Jill Coleman, associate professor of psychology at Roosevelt and Flave-Novak’s dissertation advisor. “I’m not really surprised that he’s been selected for this opportunity given all of the training and research he’s done on issues involving the LGBTQ community,” she added. “In my mind, if anyone should get an opportunity like this, it’s Dan.”