18 episodes

The Vets First podcast is a research-based podcast that focuses on the VA healthcare system and its patients. Instead of being just another research podcast, the Vets First podcast was created with a primary focus on the Veterans and their stories. The hosts, Levi Sowers PhD, and Brandon Rea work to bridge the gap between the state-of-the-art research being performed at Veterans Affairs and the Veterans themselves in an easy-to-understand manner. Importantly, Levi and Brandon want to assist researchers around the country to better understand the needs of Veterans. In this podcast you will hear interviews from Veterans with specific conditions and then hear from VA funded researchers who are studying those very topics as well as other highlighted services the VA provides.

The Department of Veterans Affairs does not endorse or officially sanction any entities that may be discussed in this podcast, nor any media, products or services they may provide.

Vets First Podcast Department of Veterans Affairs

    • Government
    • 4.7 • 19 Ratings

The Vets First podcast is a research-based podcast that focuses on the VA healthcare system and its patients. Instead of being just another research podcast, the Vets First podcast was created with a primary focus on the Veterans and their stories. The hosts, Levi Sowers PhD, and Brandon Rea work to bridge the gap between the state-of-the-art research being performed at Veterans Affairs and the Veterans themselves in an easy-to-understand manner. Importantly, Levi and Brandon want to assist researchers around the country to better understand the needs of Veterans. In this podcast you will hear interviews from Veterans with specific conditions and then hear from VA funded researchers who are studying those very topics as well as other highlighted services the VA provides.

The Department of Veterans Affairs does not endorse or officially sanction any entities that may be discussed in this podcast, nor any media, products or services they may provide.

    Season 2 Episode 4 – Two candid discussions about drug use disorders: Trever Siver and Henry Uken

    Season 2 Episode 4 – Two candid discussions about drug use disorders: Trever Siver and Henry Uken

    In this episode, Levi and Brandon discuss drug use with two Veterans who suffered from drug use disorders. Trever Siver and Henry Uken provide honest and gritty stories about their lowest points and recovery.

    • 1 hr 18 min
    Season 2 Episode 2 – Not broken, just doing things differently: Director of Disability in Education for the Student Veterans of America, Dan Standage

    Season 2 Episode 2 – Not broken, just doing things differently: Director of Disability in Education for the Student Veterans of America, Dan Standage

    In the opening of season two interviews of Vets First Podcast, Levi and Brandon welcome Marine Veteran, Dan Standage. In this podcast, listeners will hear from the Arizona native, starting with a brief overview of his childhood and career in the Marines, his emotional and physical journey after becoming legally blind during his station in Japan, and finally his contributions and career in blind rehabilitation services. Levi, Brandon, and Dan discuss the importance of mentorship in the development as individuals, and the importance of adaptability and perspective in the face of change.

    • 46 min
    Season 2 Episode 5 – Learning about drug use disorders from origin to treatment: Dr. Anthony Miller and Dr. John Wemmie

    Season 2 Episode 5 – Learning about drug use disorders from origin to treatment: Dr. Anthony Miller and Dr. John Wemmie

    In the first half of episode five, Levi and Brandon interview Dr. Anthony Miller. The episode focuses on opiate use disorder. Levi, Brandon, and Dr. Miller discuss the risks of sustained opiate consumption, causes and treatment options for opiate use disorder, relapsing, and societal views on addiction. In the second half of the episode, Levi and Brandon welcome Dr. John Wemmie to explore and break down the science behind addiction itself. Dr. Wemmie is a staff psychiatrist and director of research for behavior health at the Iowa City VA, and he is a Roy J. Carver Endowed Chair of Psychiatry and Neuroscience.

    • 57 min
    Season 2 Episode 7 – Perseverance through care and routine: Dr. Carolyn Turvey and Dr. Anne Sadler discuss research on depression and suicide risk with our Veterans

    Season 2 Episode 7 – Perseverance through care and routine: Dr. Carolyn Turvey and Dr. Anne Sadler discuss research on depression and suicide risk with our Veterans

    In the beginning of episode seven, Levi and Brandon speak with Dr. Carolyn Turvey to discuss her studies on functional impairment and depression in Veterans. The second half of the episode features Dr. Anne Sadler, a researcher with VA Health Services Research and Development and a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa.

    • 58 min
    Season 2 Episode 1 – Kicking off Season 2 of the Vets First Podcast

    Season 2 Episode 1 – Kicking off Season 2 of the Vets First Podcast

    In the first episode of the second season, podcast hosts, Levi and Brandon overview the guests and topics featured in the seasons and offer some of their retrospective thoughts. The season will interview doctors, experts, private organizations, and Veterans covering topics regarding blind Veterans, PTSD, addiction, and mental health. Some guests include Veteran Trever Siver, Dr. Erik Won, Keith Queen, and Dr. Carolyn Turvey.

    • 10 min
    Season 2 Episode 3 – Aiding vision-impaired Veterans through experience: Iowa City VA VIST Coordinator Keith Queen

    Season 2 Episode 3 – Aiding vision-impaired Veterans through experience: Iowa City VA VIST Coordinator Keith Queen

    In this episode Levi and Brandon interview Keith Queen, Visual Impairments Coordinator at the Iowa City VA. Listeners will hear how Keith navigated his life with his own visual impairment and his career with the VA, the blind rehabilitation services the VA offers, and expectations for Veterans beginning to lose their eye sight.

    • 39 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
19 Ratings

19 Ratings

OkemosVeteran_74 ,

Great shows . I always learn a lot .



I’m waiting for them to do a show from Ragbrai about veterans bicycling .

Vet researcher ,

Whole series

An indepth and personal approach to VA related research. It is interesting to hear from Veterans, what problems they face, and then hear from a specialist or reasearcher attempting to fix those problems. It is done in a way that I can understand and I got to learn about the researchers themselves!

Jocko 56 ,

Solid Season

Very well produced. I love that this is a podcast from the researchers in the trenches learning about how to improve my life as a veteran. My favorite is hearing them interview the veterans that are directly affected by the treatments themselves. It has to help how the researchers think about TBI, Hepatitis, etc. Very interesting podcast and I am excited for the 2nd season!

Top Podcasts In Government

Crooked Media
Prologue Projects
The Lawfare Institute
CBS News Radio
Mike Yoder
Charlie Robinson