The Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas Legacy Award, created by her friends and first launched by YourNexStage and other veteran serving organizations in 2021, will be awarded annually to an individual who goes above and beyond to help women veterans.
Dr. Kate has certainly done this! In addition to her books*, TEDx talks, and research on women veterans, Dr. Kate’s very public fight to have her toxic exposure-induced breast cancer recognized as service-connected has dramatically called attention to the impact of toxic exposure on women veterans. Dr. Kate’s public and very candid advocacy at the national level has made it much more likely for future women veterans to qualify for service-connected VBA benefits. Dr. Kate’s life and passion will have lasting impacts on veterans and their families – her Legacy of hope.
Professor | Writer | #USMC | Veterans' Health Researcher | Cancer Advocate | Mom
Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas, Ph.D., a behavioral medicine researcher and Master Certified Health Education Specialist, studied evidence-based mental fitness and peak performance and authored several books. A writer and researcher at heart, Dr. Kate has authored over 100 scientific publications and presentations.
Dr. Kate’s background as an academic researcher, storyteller, and U.S. Marine Corps veteran has positioned her to communicate credibly to a variety of audiences. Her TEDx talks provide a glimpse into Dr. Kate’s unique ability to make science accessible and actionable for everyday audiences.
Dr. Kate is not only an accomplished scholar, advocate, and champion for women veterans. During her military service, Dr. Kate was exposed to toxic fumes from burn pits on bases abroad. Her exposure to toxic fumes was the cause of her metastatic breast cancer diagnosis at age 38, almost a decade after returning from Iraq. This totally unexpected diagnosis led her to another battle, this time at home. It took Dr. Kate over three years and countless denials to finally get the VA to approve her service-connected claim.
In her CBS interview, Dr. Kate stated, "There is a true cost to war, when you send people to war there is a true cost to that. Part of it is handling the veterans' benefits and health care when people come home, and it's our responsibility as a country that we have these exposure risks in Iraq and Afghanistan and take care of the people coming home sick because of that."
Honoring a lifetime of service. Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas.
*Author of "Bulletproofing the Psyche," "Brave Strong True," and co-author of "Just Roll With It: Wellness Journal" and "Stopping Military Suicides" with Sarah Plummer Taylor, MSW, co-editor of "Invisible Veterans: What Happens When Military Women Become Civilians Again" with co-editor Kyleanne Hunter, Ph.D.
Her USMC sisters and friends have asked us to bring this campaign back. Honor Kate by carrying her Legacy forward.