(91outcomes.com) - The Congressionally chartered Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses (RAC) has released public call-in information for its upcoming meetings in Washington, DC, on January 7-8, 2014.
The call-in number for the RAC meeting is 800-767-1750, and the Participant Code is 35378 followed by the # key.
According to the RAC's agenda, most of the January meetings will be taken up by committee discussion on its upcoming report.
There will also be two medical research updates by the research team of Dr. Nancy Klimas, based at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The treatment-focused Florida Gulf War Illness research consortia was funded through a substantial grant from the GWI Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). A second GWI CDMRP-funded research consortia, based at Boston University, is headed by Dr. Kim Sullivan, who also serves as the RAC's assistant scientific director (though is not presenting at the upcoming meeting). Dr.'s Klimas and Gordon Broderick are scheduled to present their updates on Jan. 7.
Recent staff-driven changes retaliating against RAC's outspoken advocacy for ill Gulf War veterans included VA's gutting of the treatment-focused mission, scope, structure, and composition of the RAC, and narrowing the RAC's focus to VA-only research. However, Dr. Melissa Forsythe, COL (Ret.), program director for the GWI CDMRP, housed under the U.S. Army's Material and Medical Research Command (USAMMRC), has been scheduled by the RAC to provide a CDMRP update to the RAC, also on Jan. 7.
The VA is also scheduled to provide a research update on its own "Gulf War" research portfolio. The VA has been under fire in recent years for dramatically cutting its Gulf War research budget, improperly bulking up its "Gulf War research" portfolio with millions of dollars of non-GWI research, and gutting and whitewashing a first-ever Gulf War Illness Research Strategic Plan developed by a consensus of three VA advisory committees.
In June, all the Gulf War veterans on the panel walked out of the last RAC meeting in protest of VA's mishandling of Gulf War Illness research and sweeping changes to the RAC. VA inaction on those concerns led veteran panel members Marguerite Knox (LTC, ARNG) and Anthony Hardie to resign in protest, "rather than continuing to serve on a VA committee that VA continues to ignore."
Among the VA-selected replacements is Jim Bunker, a lighting rod of controversy in the Gulf War veteran community and who is unopposed to VA's sweeping changes to the RAC.
-Anthony Hardie, 91outcomes.com