State’s VA director to present profile of “today’s veteran”
In an effort to address the diverse health care needs of today’s veterans, Kim Ripoli, associate director of Rhode Island’s Division of Veterans Affairs, will present a public talk at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28 in the Young Building ballroom. “The Profile of Today’s Veteran” is sponsored by the Department of Nursing as part of its “Have You Ever Served” program.
Ripoli will examine how today’s veterans are a significantly changed population from previous generations. Today’s veterans tend to be younger, are more likely to be female, are more ethnically diverse and are more likely to have served for shorter periods of time than their predecessors. While many are surviving tremendous injuries on the battlefield, they’re still coming home with significant medical and mental health issues.
Ripoli, who earned a master’s degree from Salve Regina, is the first woman in Rhode Island to administer the Division of Veterans Affairs. In her position, she manages the division’s operations, coordinates mission execution and oversees more than 220 employees in the three branches (Veterans Home, Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Veterans Affairs) with a budget over $27 million.
She entered Naval service in February 1988 and in 1991 was deployed to Southwest Asia with the 1st Marines Expeditionary Force (1st MEF) during Operation Desert Shield/Storm. She was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for her actions during her deployment with Fleet Hospital 15.
In 1994, Ripoli joined the Navy Reserve, and affiliated with the Fleet Marine Force, 4th Force Service Support Group, 4th Medical Battalion, Surgical Company A. In 2003, she was mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom and attached to the 1st MEF, Forward Resuscitative Surgical Team No. 3 in Al Kut, Iraq. She received two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals for her actions in Iraq. Additional overseas deployments include Operation New Horizon (2000) and Operation African Lion (2005).
In 2007, Ripoli was assigned to the Pentagon, in the office of the assistant secretary of the Navy for manpower, policy and reserve affairs. During her tenure, she was assigned as an action officer working directly for the deputy assistant secretary on the joint Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs Senior Oversight Committee. In that role, she was the project manager for the creation of the online National Resource Directory.
Her military decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (eight awards), Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Kuwait Liberation Medal-Saudi Arabia, Kuwait Liberation Medal-Kuwait, Iraq Campaign Medal, and various service, unit and campaign awards.