In response to President Barack Obama's executive order, the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs highlighted the establishment of two joint research consortia at a combined investment of $107 million to research the diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and mild traumatic brain injury over a five-year period, according to a DOD news release issued Aug. 10.
"VA is proud to join with its partners in the federal government and the academic community to support the president's vision and invest in research that could lead to innovative, new treatments for TBI and PTSD," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said in the release. "We must do all we can to deliver the high-quality care our service members and veterans have earned and deserve."
The Consortium to Alleviate PTSD, a collaborative effort between the University of Texas Health Science Center – San Antonio, San Antonio Military Medical Center, and the Boston VA Medical Center will attempt to develop the most effective diagnostic, prognostic, novel treatment, and rehabilitative strategies to treat acute PTSD and prevent chronic PTSD.
The Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium, a collaborative effort between Virginia Commonwealth University, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and the Richmond VA Medical Center will examine the factors which influence the chronic effects of mild TBI and common comorbidities in order to improve diagnostic and treatment options. A key point will be to further the understanding of the relationship between mild TBI and neurodegenerative disease.
Since Sept. 11, 2001 more than 2.5 million U.S. service members have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Military service exposes service members to a variety of stressors, including risk to life, exposure to death, injury, sustained threat of injury, and the day-to-day family stress inherent in all phases of the military life cycle.
To improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health conditions, the president released an executive order directing federal agencies to develop a coordinated National Research Action Plan. The Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Education came forward with a wide-reaching plan to improve scientific understanding, effective treatment, and reduce occurrences of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, co-occurring conditions, and suicide.