Monday, August 31, 2009

Military Health Reseach Forum Opens in Kansas City

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Written by Anthony Hardie, 91outcomes

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( - Kansas City, Mo. - Monday, August 31, 2009) -- Today's U.S. Department of Defense Military Health Research Forum invitation-only conference opened in Kansas City, with over 500 attendees, primarily scientists and consumer reviewers.

Hosted jointly by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) Peer Reviewed Medical, Gulf War Illness, Psychological Health, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
research programs, the MHRF has brought together scientists, clinicians, consumer advocates, policymakers, and the military to learn about research and product development advancements supported by the host programs.

Today's opening presentation was initiated by a moment of silence -- a CDMRP tradition -- by consumer reviewere Master Sergeant Todd Nelson, an Iraq War IED survivor with visibly severe burns over 18 percent of his body, including most of his head and face. Nelson called on conference attendees to remember all the fallen, and gave a charge to the scientists to make a difference for injured combat veterans.

Also among the opening speakers were U.S. Army Major General James Gilman, M.D., commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) and U.S. Navy Captain E. Melissa Kaine, M.D., F.A.C.P , director of the U.S. Department of Defense's Congressionall Directed Medical Research Program.

The presentations were folllowed by a CDMRP video, with interviews and interaction action footage of CDMRP scientists, consumers, and staff.

On Tuesday, September 1, The Honorable Ellen Embrey, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, will introduce and moderate a plenary session "The New Face of War." Her presentation will be preceded by four concurrent sessions: Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Therapeutic Applications of Virtual Reality; Defining Gulf War Illness; and, Advances in Imaging Techniques.

The "Defining Gulf War Illness" session will include a panel discussion featuring Dr. Lea Steele (Ph.D.), past Scientific Director, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Research Advisory Committee (RAC) on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, Dr. Robert White, current RAC scientific chair, and COL Charles Engel, U.S. Army. Gulf War Illness Research Program consumer reviewers Chris Kornven (Helenville, Wis.) and Anthony Hardie (Madison, Wis.) are also on hand during the conference, as are consumers of several of the other CDMRP programs.

On Wednesday, September 2, a group of eminent scientists and clinicians will discuss recent and remarkable advances in trauma care and rehabilitation, personalized medicine, neurology, and behavioral science during a presentation entitled, "Tomorrow's Medicine."

Also on Wendnesday, the session "Caregivers" will address issues faced by military family members and medical personnel assisting wounded warriors.

A round-table discussion of prosthetics, their current engineering, and future research directions in their developmen, entitled "Prosthetic Development," is scheduled for Thursday, September 3, during the morning concurrent sessions.

Other presentations during the four-day conference relevant to Gulf War Illness include "Assessment Tools," "Biomarkers," "Molecular Pathobiology," "Neuroprotection," "Challenges in Chronic Pain Management," "Neurogenesis and Depression," "Sleep," "Pain," and "Inflammation." Numerous other presentations relate to PTSD, TBI, and psychological health.

CDMRP's vision is to, "Find and fund the best research to eradicate diseases and support the warfighter for the benefit of the American public," while it's mission is to, "provide hope by promoting innovative research, recognizing untapped opportunities, creating partnerships, and guarding the public trust."

The following Department of Defense, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP)—Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Gulf War Illness, Lung Cancer, Peer Reviewed
Cancer (skin cancers and genetic cancers as related to exposure during deployments), Peer Reviewed Orthopaedic, Psychological Health (to include posttraumatic stress disorder)/Traumatic

Brain Injury, and Spinal Cord Injury—are looking for military personnel and/or family caregivers to serve as consumer* reviewers of scientific proposals to help determine the research that will be funded this year.

This program was established to fund and manage research grants designed to address the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and mitigation of these conditions, diseases and/or illnesses.
Consumers participate in the scientific peer review process as representatives of those living with the condition/disease/illness that has touched their lives. They provide a broad perspective of condition-related issues important to their community. They may be survivors who have been affected by the conditions, diseases and/or illnesses or family members caring for individuals with the condition/disease/illness. Consumers who are not active duty military are nominated by their advocacy, outreach, support organization or treatment professional to participate in this important process. Consumers who are military personnel may apply directly.

If you are interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity call 301-360-2150, or e-mail Ann Dodelin at or Carolyn Branson at You can also check the CDMRP Web site at for additional information.

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