First Lady Michelle Obama Announces Major Coordinated Effort by America’s Academic Institutions to Combat PTSD & TBI

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 Today, as part of First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) committed to creating a new generation of doctors, medical schools, and research facilities that will make sure our heroes and their families receive the care worthy of their sacrifice.  Recognizing veterans, service members and their families’ dedication and commitment, 130 schools associated with the AAMC and AACOM pledged to leverage their missions in education, research, and clinical care to train the nation’s physicians to meet the unique health care needs of the military and veterans communities.

“I’m inspired to see our nation’s medical schools step up to address this pressing need for our veterans and military families.  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,”says First Lady Michelle Obama.

Together, the AAMC and AACOM are committing to improve the education in their medical schools, the research in their laboratories, and the clinical care in their hospitals to better address the health issues that military families face.  Specifically, these organizations are committing to:

  • 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,” said Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges.  “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.”

“A central component of the White House Joining Forces Initiative is wellness, and I am pleased to announce AACOM’s participation in a new Joining Forces effort that could have a significant impact on the health and well-being of our nation’s veterans.” Dr. Stephen C. Shannon, President and CEO, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

Examples of universities stepping up to provide for veterans and their families include:

  • Virginia Commonwealth University where they’re leading a groundbreaking project to provide resources and training to health care providers, volunteers, and community members throughout Virginia who can help ease the transition home for veterans with TBI and PTSD.
  • The University of Pittsburgh where researchers are developing a new imaging tool that allows the visualization of the wiring of the brain in vivid high definition, which could lead to new breakthroughs in the diagnosis of TBI.
  • The University of South Florida where they are working with the Department of Defense and the VA to create a first-of-its-kind Center for Veterans Reintegration, which will mean a single, cohesive research, treatment, and education facility for veterans and families.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden created Joining Forces to bring Americans together to recognize, honor and take action to support veterans and military families as they serve our country and throughout their lives. The initiative aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of society to ensure veterans and military families have the support they have earned. The initiative focuses on key priority areas – employment, education, and wellness while raising awareness about the service, sacrifice, and needs of America’s veterans and military families. More information is available at:www.JoiningForces.gov..

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