MILWAUKEE— A program that began in Wisconsin connecting medical professionals with veterans continues to expand across the US.

The “My Life, My Story” program is expanding to the Milwaukee VA with the help of students from the Medical College of Wisconsin.

It starts with a simple conversation. But the stories and topics talked about, turn into so much more.

“The goal of the program is to allow any provider to learn more about the veteran and learn more about their whole life story,” Medical College of Wisconsin Graduate Student, Suma Samudrala says.

The “My Life, My Story” program was expanded at the Medical College of Wisconsin thanks to Suma Sumadrala, a third-year graduate student. She spearheaded the expansion after learning about it back in 2013 when it began at the Madison VA.

“It’s been a great process to see it grow and for us to receive more veterans and more volunteers for this program,” Sumadrala says.

The “My Life, My Story” program started at the Madison VA back in 2013, since then it’s now grown to over 50 VA medical centers across the US.

Here’s how it works: medical students sit down one on one with a veteran to hear and document their life story in hopes of taking their information to better provide healthcare to veterans.

“Veterans life stories can actually be helpful in providing clinical care and you might uncover clinical information not previously known. This helps the provider see what aspects of health they can treat and how further they can draw into that,” Sumadrala says.

For Army Veteran, Andrew Sabin, who has shared his story for the program, he says it felt good to have an open ear hear his story.

“It’s not very often where someone sits down and someone says tell me whatever you want to tell me however much you want to help me and asks a few questions here or there and actually tries to understand the best they can,” Army Veteran, Andrew Sabin says.

The goal of the entire program is to focus on the veteran’s shared stories to better serve them and the entire veteran community.

“The more you talk about your story the easier it is for people to try and understand the best they can,” Sabin says.