Friday, December 29, 2006

Moving a Nation to Care: Author Bio

A brief look at Ilona Meagher, author of Moving a Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America's Returning Troops and editor of PTSD Combat: Winning the War Within.

Media kit photos (click to access larger image):
rohde_omaha2000 backpages_051007_1 secondlife_ilona3

More photos >>>

Media highlights> Listen interview, July 2009 (uploaded Nov. 2009)
> Listen to Midmorning/MPR program November 5, 2007
> Listen to St. Louis on the Air/NPR program, June 12, 2007
> More video/audio

About the Author

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Ilona Meagher is an independent Illinois-based online writer, public speaker, new media developer and author of Moving a Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America's Returning Troops, a book featured in an extensive 24-page book review essay [pdf] in the premiere issue of the VA Board of Veterans' Appeals Veterans Law Review, Vol 1 (2009).

After reading of a soldier's lost battle with PTSD in 2005, she decided to pursue the then under-reported topic.

It would change her life.

Ilona holds a B.A. in journalism, summa cum laude and with University Honors, from Northern Illinois University.

She is editor of the online journal PTSD Combat: Winning the War Within and earliest force behind the ePluribus Media PTSD Timeline [unfortunately, the work is no longer accessible online; I will be moving the data to a new home beginning in January 2010], a comprehensive database of press- and independently-reported OEF/OIF PTSD-related incidents.

Through 2005-2008, ePluribus Media, a citizen journalism initiative, was the only group tracking such cases of possible, probable or confirmed reports of post-combat reintegration difficulties, making them publicly available for further research, study and reporting.

aa2000_lobbyingdcThe PTSD Timeline has been used by government bodies such as the House Veterans Affairs Committee and Senator John Kerry’s office, dozens of media outlets, researchers, journalists and veterans organizations.

A former 15-year domestic and international flight attendant with a major air carrier, Ilona retired her wings after September 11 and shifted to new media design/development, citizen journalism and public speaking.

Since 2005, she has contributed hundreds of commentaries on the topic of combat PTSD/reintegration to various online communities, most significantly ePluribus Media and Daily Kos. She co-authored the three-part series, “Blaming the Veteran: The Politics of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” with D.E. Ford, MSW, and retired Naval Commander Jeff Huber.

Her body of work has received the attention of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee, Associated Press, FOX News, Stars and Stripes, NBC News, USA Today, NPR, Newsweek, New York Times, Tacoma News-Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, Publishers Weekly, PBS, American Conservative, 3TV-Phoenix, New England Cable News, Nashville Public Television, Greensboro News-Record, Columbia Free Times, The New Hampshire, Rockford Register Star, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, WIFR-TV23 and WREX-TV13 (Rockford, IL), Minnesota Public Radio, WBBM News Radio-780 AM (Chicago, IL), WOCM-98.1 FM (Ocean City, MD), Talk Star-840 AM (Titusville, FL), KMNY-1360 AM (Dallas, TX), KWMU-90.7 FM (St. Louis, MO), KAHI-850 AM (Auburn, CA), Chicago Tribune Magazine, Northern Today, Midweek News, Wired, Buzzflash, The Raw Story, Daily Kos, Think Progress, Utne Reader, Progressive Radio Network, Air America, WireTap, Firedoglake,, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and others.

>> Download media kit [pdf] of reviews/press clippings.

In the spring of 2006, Ilona’s work drew the attention of New York publishers Robert Lasner and Elizabeth Clementson, owners of Ig Publishing. In April 2006, they offered her the chance to write a book on the plight of our returning veterans. Her completed work, Moving a Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America’s Returning Troops arrived in stores in May 2007.

Following the book's publication, Ilona embarked upon a national book tour; took part in conferences (in August 2007 she appeared on a panel Panel members addressing questionswith General Wesley Clark and OEF/OIF veterans and in September 2008 appeared on a panel with IL Veterans Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth) and book fairs; visited and donated books to Walter Reed Army Medical Center; and continued to be interviewed by both local and national media (in November 2007 she appeared alongside National Center for PTSD Executive Director Matthew Friedman, MD).

In the summer of 2007, she also received a call from presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich lauding her work and was sought out by Warner Independent Pictures to assist with its Chicago preview screenings for the critically-acclaimed film In the Valley of Elah.

houseva_cspan7In December 2007, Ilona testified before Congress at a House Committee on Veterans' Affairs hearing, Stopping Suicide: Mental Health Challenges Within the Department of Veterans Affairs. Hearing notes | testimony | view

A bilingual (trilingual if including her moderate handle on Spanish) first-generation American, Ilona's parents fled to the U.S. following the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Her father is a veteran of both the Hungarian and U.S. armies, and in 1956 picked up arms against Soviet forces on the streets of Budapest for the cause of freedom.

She currently lives in the Rockford, Ill., area with her husband.

In 2008, she received NIU's "Illinois Journalist of the Year-Student Scholarship Award." In 2009, she earned the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Deans' Award, Journalism; the Communications Studies Program Outstanding Major Award; and the Kappa Tau Alpha Top Scholar Award.

In 2009, Ilona's Senior Honors Capstone paper, Combat Veterans, Mass Media and the Advancement of Social Consciousness: An Historical and Contemporary Review, was presented at Purdue University's 2009 C.S. Stacy Undergraduate Research Conference. She is currently working with two NIU professors on a research paper tentatively titled "From Contention to Co-option: A Decade of Post 9/11 New Media Military Communications."

In 2010, she hopes to ramp up graduate studies in health, science and technology communications.

About the Book

>> Read jacket blurbs and book reviews or get the latest news.

Once called shell shock or combat fatigue, post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, in our returning combat forces is among the most catastrophic of issues confronting our nation today. Yet, despite the fact that nearly 20-30 percent of the over half million troops that have left the military since 2003 have been diagnosed with conditions such as PTSD, and that many who suffer symptoms are unlikely to seek help because of the stigma -- even reprisals -- attached to coming forward, our government's silence and sluggish response has been deafening and deadly.

Moving A Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America’s Returning Troops is a grassroots call to action designed to break the shameful silence and stigma and put the issue of supporting the successful reintegration of our returning troops front and center before the American public.

In addition to presenting interviews with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and military family members directly feeling the effects of post-deployment stressors (through hypervigilance, anxiety, anger, avoidance and even suicide), this book will be the most comprehensive resource to date for concerned citizens who wish to understand the complex political, social and health-related issues of PTSD, with an eye toward “moving our nation to care” to do what is necessary to help our fighting men and women achieve a successful transition to civilian life.

Penny Coleman is author of Flashback: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Suicide, and the Lessons of War and contributes the book's foreword.

Robert Roerich, MD, is one of the world experts in trauma therapy and PTSD and a board member of the National Gulf War Resource Center and contributes the book's introduction.


Moving a Nation to Care:
Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder and America’s Returning Troops

By Ilona Meagher
Foreword by Robert Roerich, MD
Introduction by Penny Coleman

Paperback: 200 pages | $14.99
Publisher: Ig Publishing
In Stores: May 1, 2007
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0977197271
ISBN-13: 978-0977197279
Category: History & Politics/Military/Current Events

Ig Publishing
Robert Lasner
Ph/Fx: 718-797-0676

Distributed to the trade by Consortium Book Sales and Distribution


"Moving a Nation to Care" Notable Markers
houseva_cspan2 houseva_cspan16In December 2007, "Moving a Nation to Care" was referenced and lauded by members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Shown are Chairman Bob Filner [D-CA] and Rep. Don Manzullo [R-IL] holding copies during a congressional hearing on suicide.

"Moving a Nation to Care" was used extensively in a February 2009 Association of the United States Army Institute of Land Warfare paper, Collateral Damage: How Can the Army Best Serve a Soldier With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? [pdf] by Colonel Richard B. O’Connor.

In 2007, the years of its publication, "Moving a Nation to Care" was:

Nailing down an overall Amazon ranking is difficult to do, since they update hourly. That said, the summer of its release, "Moving a Nation to Care" climbed to the top 10 in the PTSD category, reaching the Amazon Bestselling Iraq Books list.

Internationally, "Moving a Nation to Care" has ranked:

Professional Recommendations
"Moving a Nation to Care" and the online journal PTSD Combat: Winning the War Within were referenced in an Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship. No 51 (2007) journal article, "A Guide to Resources for Severely Wounded Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) Veterans," by Danielle Carlock, Arizona State University-Polytechnic Campus.

"Moving a Nation to Care" is also found among March 2008's "Core Consumer Health Books"[pdf] recommendations selected by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Consumer Health Library Panel. Their evaluation criteria included:

  • Qualifications and affiliations of the author(s)
  • Readability of material, including reading level and appropriateness of tone and vocabulary
  • Scope of content, including depth and balance
  • Quality of writing
  • Currency and accuracy of information
  • Usefulness to consumers for informed decision-making

Selection of libraries holding "Moving a Nation to Care:"

Academic Uses
"Moving a Nation to Care" was used during the fall Fall 2007 semester in a University of Arkansas Fulbright College Core Course - Sociology 2013 Honors. It was also used extensively in "Killing in Combat: The Psychological Impact on Self and the Struggle to Obtain Healing," [pdf] a Peace and Justice Studies Capstone paper written in May 2008 by Emilie Gidley.

"Moving a Nation to Care" appeared on the University of Maryland's Disability Awareness Month Recommended Reading list [pdf] for its Disabilities and War: Can the Broken Places Be Made Strong Again? program held throughout October 2008.

Last updated January 13, 2010.

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