UA Little Rock grad helps veterans through VA fellowship

Ever since Robbin Cochran decided to become a social worker, she hoped to use her skills to help veterans as a tribute to her many relatives who have served this country. 

“My husband is a veteran of the Iraq war, and my father and stepfather are veterans of Vietnam,” Cochran said. “My grandfather was in World War II, and my great-grandfather in World War I. My mother is in the Daughters of the American Revolution, so I have ancestors who served all the way back to the Revolutionary War.” 

Cochran, a May graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Master of Social Work program, is spending the next year helping veterans as part of the Psychology Postdoctoral and Interprofessional Fellowship at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. 

After earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Central Arkansas, Cochran enrolled at UA Little Rock in 2017. 

“The faculty at UA Little Rock is amazing. The School of Social Work goes above and beyond for their students,” Cochran said. “May Atkins was an amazing influence. She was my faculty liaison with the VA and definitely helped me a lot. Dr. Catherine Crisp was an excellent diversity professor, and Elizabeth Fowler was invaluable to me in helping arrange my internships. Any student should definitely consider social work as a field.” 

Her extensive experience through multiple internships is one of the reasons Cochran received the fellowship. She completed a one-year social work internship and two summer AmeriCorps programs with Our House, a program for the working homeless that serves more than 1,800 clients annually. Cochran also served as an intern in the Outpatient Mental Health Clinic with the Central Arkansas Veteran Healthcare System during the 2018-19 school year. 

In her fellowship, Cochran follows the psychosocial rehabilitation/serious mental illness track. Fellows will develop clinical skills utilizing a recovery oriented service approach and learn unique skills specialized in providing mental health services to veterans. 

“We are currently having a suicide crisis among veterans. I believe it’s the result of trauma that has not been addressed. People come back from war and reintegrate into society without dealing with the issues they have faced in war,” she said. “PTSD is also a huge issue among veterans right now as well as depression, anxiety, and panic disorder.” 

After the completion of her fellowship in August 2020, Cochran plans to continue to work for the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. 

“I hope to remain involved with Veterans Affairs,” she said. “It’s a very important issue for me. It’s in my family lineage.”

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