Monday, April 25, 2016

VA Hosting Gulf War Veteran Roundtable, Researchers, Town Hall Meeting this Week

( – The U.S. Department of Veterans (VA) Affairs Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses (RAC-GWVI) will hold its next meetings on Thursday and Friday, April 28-29, 2016 in Washington, DC.

On the first of its two days of meetings, the RAC will hear from Gulf War veterans, representatives of Gulf War veterans, and representatives from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences discussing two recent scientific reports.

Dr. Stephen Hauser, chairman of the RAC, will lead off the meeting, followed by Dr. Herman Gibb of Gibb Epidemiology Consulting.  Gibbs, a member of the IOM panel that authored the controversial, "Gulf War and Health, Volume 10," report released February 11, 2016, will present its major findings.  The report's recommendations to end broad swathes of Gulf War research have been met with criticism by Gulf War researchers, advocates, veterans, and members of an investigative Congressional panel.    

Dr. Barbara Vickery of the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine will present a December 2015 IOM report that provided recommendations for VA to design a study of neurological conditions suffered by Gulf War veterans.  

In the afternoon, Dr. Hauser will lead a roundtable panel of Gulf War veterans and veteran representatives to receive recommendations on RAC committee priorities.  Invited panelists include:  Kimberly Adams, a new RAC member; Carlos Fuentes, Senior Legislative Associate, Veterans of Foreign Wars;  Anthony Hardie, former RAC member and Director, Veterans for Common Sense; Marylyn Harris, veteran entrepreneur speaker and new RAC member; Shurhonda Love, National legislative staff, Disabled American Veterans; Jeffrey S. Nast, new RAC member; Denise Nichols, MAJ (Ret.), R.N., National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition; and, George S. Webb, COL (Ret.), former Executive Director, Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs.

The roundtable will be followed by RAC committee discussion with panelists and IOM presenters. 

On the second day of meetings, three researchers will present their findings.  Dr. Bennett Porter of the Naval Health Research Center will present the Millennium Cohort Collaboration.  Dr. Erin Dursa of VA’s Post-Deployment Health Service will present the, “Gulf War Veterans Longitudinal Study” she led, which has implications for veterans’ benefits.   Finally, Dr. Dawn Provenzale of VA’s Cooperative Studies Program (CSP) Epidemiology Center in Durham will present CSP 585, a Gulf War biorepository project.   VA Office of Research Development (ORD) staff Dr. Victor Kalasinsky and Dr. Robert Jaeger will also present an update of VA-ORD’s Gulf War Research Portfolio.  No similar update of ongoing epidemiological research by the VA Office of Public Health is scheduled.
Each day will conclude with an opportunity for public comment.

Town Hall Meeting after RAC meetings

Following the RAC meeting on Friday, VA is hosting a town-hall style listening session for public comment on recent recommendations made to VA by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in its report “Gulf War and Health, Volume 10: Update of Health Effects of Serving in the Gulf War, 2016” ( ). 

VA notes that, “all comments are welcome, but VA specifically seeks those that address the recommendations made on pages 8-11 and pages 264-272 of the IOM report. 

Public Participation

Two public comment periods are available during the RAC’s meetings, at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 28, the first day of meetings, and at 11:45 a.m. on Friday, April 29, the second and final day of the two-day meeting.  Times are approximate and could be sooner or later depending upon the duration of earlier agenda items.  

For those unable to attend the RAC meetings in person, you can listen in whole or part via teleconference.   The call-in number is toll-free 1-800-767-1750 and the access code is 56978# .
The RAC proceedings will be aired live online using Adobe Connect at:

More information on the VA’s Town Hall meeting following the RAC meetings is available in this 91outcomes article.

About the RAC

The Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses (RAC-GWVI) was created by Congress in 1998 through the Persian Gulf War Veterans Act of 1998, and first appointed by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi in January, 2002.  

The mission of the Committee is to make recommendations to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on government research relating to the health consequences of military service in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during the Persian Gulf War.

If you’re Attending

The RAC meetings are on Thursday, April 28, 2016, from to 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on Friday, April 29, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Town Hall meeting is on Friday, April 29, 2016, from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m.

In person:  Both the RAC and Town Hall meetings will be held at the Capital Hilton (Pan American Room), 1001 16th St, NW, Washington, DC 20036.  [ Map ]  Note that this is a different location than previous meetings.  The Capital Hilton is located just a few blocks north of the White House on 16th St. NW, between K and L streets.

The Farragut North Metro station (Red line) is the closest metro station to the hotel, one long block to the west at 17th and K streets.   The Farragut West Metro station (Orange/Blue/Silver Lines) is a half-block further, on the southeast corner of 17th and I (“eye”) streets.  The McPherson Square Metro Station (Orange/Blue/Silver Lines) is two blocks to the Southwest (use the Vermont Ave. exit) at 15th and I (“eye”) streets. 

Via Teleconference:  The call-in number is toll-free 1-800-767-1750 and the access code is 56978#.  The same call-in number will be used for both the RAC meetings and the follow-on Town Hall listening session. The RAC proceedings will be aired live online using Adobe Connect at:

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