First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) have created a new generation of doctors, medical schools and research facilities that will focus on treatment options for military veterans.
“I’m inspired to see our nation’s medical schools step up to address this pressing need for our veterans and military families,” First Lady Michelle Obama said. “By directing some of our brightest minds, our most cutting-edge research, and our finest teaching institutions toward our military families, they’re ensuring that those who have served our country receive the first-rate care that they have earned.”
While this new program is welcomed by injured military veterans, the signature war wounds for the signature Middle East Wars, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have seen numerous successful treatment plans in the private sector.
Most recently Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head by a mentally unstable gunman. Rep. Giffords received the best medical treatment her generous Congressional health insurance provided. As a result, she has recovered at a remarkable pace. Many argue that the military veterans are not given the same opportunity as an elected politician.
Another example of successful head trauma treatment is ABC News reporter, Bob Woodruff. He survived a bomb blast covering the Iraq War. Mr. Woodruff, was treated for TBI in New York City, received excellent medical treatment in the private sector, and has returned to work.
Woodruff has spoken about his and Giffords’ head injuries. “First, there is hope. Like the doctors who saved me almost five years ago, her surgeons knew exactly what to do. Her brain was swelling just like mine. They removed partof her skull on the left sideof her head almost exactly like mine, and she (was put) in a drug-induced coma so that her brain could recover.”
However, complaints from many service members suggest military treatment requires excessive paperwork and bland treatment options for their TBI and PTSD injuries.
Together, the AAMC and AACOM hope to advance their veteran-related injury education programs, focus laboratory research, and improve clinical care for military families. This cooperative effort seeks to better address health issues suffered by returning troops from the Middle East Wars.
Specifically, these organizations will focus on the following;
· Train their medical students as well as their current physicians, faculty, and staff to better diagnose and treat our veterans and military families;
· Develop new research and clinical trials on PTSD and TBI so that we can better understand and treat those conditions;
· Share their information and best practices with one another through a collaborative web forum created by the AAMC; and
· Continue to work with the VA and the Department of Defense to make sure that everyone is providing the best care available.
“Because of our integrated missions in education, clinical care, and research, America’s medical schools are uniquely positioned to take a leadership role in this important effort,” Darrell G. Kirch M.D., president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges said. “Medical schools have long recognized the sacrifice and commitment of our military, veterans, and their families. The relationship between the Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers and academic medicine dates back to the end of World War II and serves as a model for successful partnerships between public and private institutions. Our work with the White House on Joining Forces is a natural extension of our efforts in this area and renews our commitment to the wellness of our nation’s military.”
For more information about Joining Forces visit; www.joiningforces.gov
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