Class of January 2017

Meet our Fellows!


Nebojsa "vic" Zlatanovic

Nebojsa is a practicing attorney based in Pompton Plaines, New Jersey, specializing in SSA and VA disability practices. He served in the U.S. Army from 2003-2006, and the U.S. Army Reserves from 2007-2010.

"Ten percent of those behind bars are veterans, and many of them suffer from a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric or neurological disorder. Across the board, veterans are being sentenced to much longer terms than nonveterans for the same types of crimes. Among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, 60% suffer from combat-related PTSD, and I believe that many have comorbid symptoms of schizophrenia, possibly caused by mefloquine toxicity. Mefloquine is a drug known to heighten the risk of schizophrenia. To help address this problem, the VA must have a mefloquine registry in place, in much the same way it has for Agent Orange and burn pits, that would help study the long-term effects of mefloquine exposure and create smart policies to treat these problems."

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Maureen Elias

Maureen served as a Counterintelligence Agent in the United States Army from 2001-2006, and is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling at Bowie State University.

"Holistic methods of treatment for combat-related PTSD can allow VA practitioners to tailor treatment to the specific needs of those with combat experience, reduce the use of opioids (and the potential for opioid abuse), and increase patients involvement in their recovery. Congress must authorize and fund a pilot study on the incorporation of alternative and holistic treatment methods for PTSD."


Tyson Manker

Tyson served as an infantry Marine, enlisting straight out of high school in 2000, and deploying in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He is now an attorney based in Illinois, and an advocate for veterans with less-than-honorable discharges due to PTSD.

"The DOD’s unsanctioned use of untested drug concoctions on ground troops, combined with its near-complete failure to properly screen returning service members for mental injuries as required by law, coupled with its overreliance on administrative separations, is the cause of historic numbers of Veterans being discharged with Bad Paper and Service-Connected mental injuries. In turn, those without access to VA facilities, and barred from membership in VSOs, are more likely to be addicted, end up homeless, or commit suicide. Congress must pass the “Fairness for Vets” Act to reform the discharge appeals process for these veterans."


Doug Jackson

Doug served as an infantry rifleman in the United States Marine Corps from 2006-2010, and deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He now is the owner of a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business in Orlando, Florida, which provides professional photography services.

"Our nation spends months, sometimes years preparing young service members for their job in the military and about two weeks preparing them to exit the military. This is completely unacceptable. A complete overhaul of the Transition Assistance Program will be the primary focus of my policy proposal, with two main components: 1. Practical steps for seeking a new career 2. Raising the minimum standard of mental health offered to service members."

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Joel Garrison

Lieutenant Colonel Garrison served for over 25 years in the Army National Guard as a Field Artillery and Military Intelligence officer,
including a combat deployment as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"Taking veterans’ issues to the next level requires permanent and effective structure at the highest levels.  Congressional
authorization for the establishment of a National Veterans Council within the White House would place veterans’ policy as a first-tier priority within the administration and more effectively coordinate a
whole of government effort.  The National Veterans Council would be chaired by a Veterans Services Adviser that would provide direction and continuity to the White House veterans’ services staff.  Finally,
a President’s Advisory Board on Veterans Affairs would give veterans’ organizations and veterans’ advocates an opportunity to shape
veterans’ policy at the highest levels of government.