READ BELOW for more details before calling.
DEADLINE for sign on's: SENATE: Thursday, July 1, 2021
(91outcomes.com - Updated June 8, 2021) - Key members of Congress have launched a renewed bipartisan initiative to continue the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) to develop treatments for Gulf War Illness.
The GWIRP is part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) administered by the U.S. Department of Defense under Congressional direction.
VA and scientific estimates show that Gulf War Illness affects between one-fourth and one-third of the veterans of the 1991 Gulf War. The consensus among Gulf War Illness medical researchers is increasingly clear: With the a concerted national effort, effective treatments can likely be found.
In the U.S. Senate, longstanding GWIRP champion U.S. Senate by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) again leads this year's push in the Senate continued funding for the unique, treatment-focused medical research program aimed at improving Gulf War veterans' health and lives.
This year’s successful House effort was led in the U.S. House by Rep. Jack Bergman, LtGen, USMC (Ret.) (R-MI) and Rep. Gregorio Sablan (I-NMI) and supported by 80 Members of the House. The Senate effort parallels that House effort.
Information below shows what you can do in just five minutes to support this critically important national effort to help our nation's Gulf War veterans.
- Call the Washington, DC offices [not their office(s) back in their district or home state] of your U.S. Senator
- Ask for the legislative staff person who handles Department of Defense Appropriations (not VA, not Veterans Affairs).
- If you get their voicemail, leave a detailed voicemail with your specific request (below).
- You can FIND your two U.S. Senators here.
- Your name and that you are a constituent (meaning you live in the state that they represent).
- Very briefly (in 1 or 2 sentences at most) state your connection to Gulf War Illness. [For example: "I'm among the one-third of Gulf War veterans suffering from Gulf War Illness". Or, "I'm the wife/husband/son/daughter/parent of a Gulf War veteran suffering from Gulf War Illness. Or, "I'm one of many other veterans besides those who served in the Gulf War and I'm also suffering from a debilitating like Gulf War Illness."]
- State that there is a "Dear Colleague" letter that you are specifically requesting the Senator sign onto.
- Provide the name of the "Dear Colleague" letter, the "Baldwin Dear Colleague Letter for Fiscal Year 2022 Gulf War Illness treatment research funding." [Note: there is no bill number -- this is a "Dear Colleague" request to get funding into a bill -- specifically the Fiscal Year 2022 Defense Appropriations Act]
- State that this is to continue funding for this successful, treatment-focused research program.
- State the sign-on deadline: Thursday, July 1, 2021.
- [Staff contact, in case they ask, is: Mr. Ibrahim Hashi in the office of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin]
- If you can email the staffer with a short one-pager about the program. This is very important. Then right away, email them the link to this document: About the GWIRP with SENATE Deadline (FY22)
- Ask that the staff person follow-up with you to let you know the Senator's decision.
- If they say they will sign on, post a comment below this post with the name of the Senator and the name of the staffer and that they will or will not sign on.
- Follow-up in 2-3 days to find out the status, if you haven't heard back.
- Be polite
- Be pleasant
- Be urgent
- Be respectful
- Be convincing
- Be brief
- Be SPECIFIC with the REQUEST: Sign onto the "Baldwin" (U.S. SENATE) "Dear Colleague Letter for Fiscal Year 2019 Gulf War Illness treatment research funding"
- **Do not argue with, get angry with, or threaten the staffer in any way. **
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ's)
Recent research shows that chemical exposures are causally associated with Gulf War Illness. Psychiatric causes have been ruled out.
See the GWIRP's "Gulf War Illness Landscape": http://cdmrp.army.mil/GWIRP
See also the Veterans for Common Sense webpage about the GWIRP that includes research updates: http://veteransforcommonsense.org/gulf-war-illness-research-program-gwirp/
Senator Baldwin invites your boss to join a letter to the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in request of adequate funding for the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) within the Department of Defense (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). The GWIRP is a unique medical research program narrowly focused on improving the health and lives of veterans with Gulf War Illness (GWI). Promising pilot studies funded by the GWIRP are now progressing to larger-scale clinical trials, including by the GWIRP-funded Gulf War Illness Clinical Trials and Interventions Consortium (GWICTIC).
FY21 signers: Tester, Blumenthal, Warren, Menendez, Wyden, Whitehouse, Markey, Sanders, Hirono, Duckworth, Rosen, Booker, Smith, Klobuchar, Peters, Harris, Stabenow, Gillibrand, Cantwell, Feinstein, Sinema
Deadline is Thursday, July 1, 2021 at COB. Please contact Ibrahim Hashi (Sen. Baldwin) to sign on or with questions.
June XX, 2021
The Honorable Jon Tester
Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Richard Shelby
Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Tester and Ranking Member Shelby:
As your Subcommittee begins work on the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Defense Appropriations bill, we respectfully request adequate funding for the Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP) within the Department of Defense (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). We also thank you for providing the program $22 million in FY21.
By congressional design, the GWIRP is a unique medical research program narrowly focused on improving the health and lives of Veterans with Gulf War Illness (GWI). Reports by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and government committees have shown that GWI is likely caused by toxic exposures, affects up to one-third of the nearly 700,000 veterans who served in the 1991 Gulf War, and includes debilitating symptoms typically characterized by "some combination of widespread pain, headache, persistent problems with memory and thinking, fatigue, breathing problems, stomach and intestinal symptoms, and skin abnormalities." Recent GWIRP-funded research has provided further evidence that GWI remains a serious, debilitating, and unrelenting health issue, having worsened over time among these veterans, including female Gulf War veterans.,
The treatment-focused GWIRP funds research to unravel GWI’s underlying pathobiology, improving its definition and diagnosis, and developing treatments. The growing body of GWIRP-funded results published in peer-reviewed scientific journals demonstrates encouraging progress. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, a first-ever Gulf War Illness State of the Science Conference was held entirely online last August with 67 presentations of GWIRP-funded GWI research, 42 presentations on GWI and other health issues by VA, a Gulf War veteran panel, and hundreds of researcher and Veteran attendees. Promising pilot studies funded by the GWIRP are now progressing to larger-scale clinical trials, including by the GWIRP-funded Gulf War Illness Clinical Trials and Interventions Consortium (GWICTIC). This positive progress is the direct result of clear, treatment-focused congressional direction, stable appropriations, and effective management. Some recent results funded by the GWIRP include:
- The persistence of GWI symptoms may be explained in part by elevated intracellular calcium levels in brain cells (neurons), found in a rat model of Gulf War toxic exposures; analysis showed promising new treatment targets for GWI-related neurological problems.
- Prior GWIRP-funded research found evidence of increased autoantibodies of central nervous system proteins in GWI; that earlier finding was confirmed and validated in a much larger sample, providing evidence to support a blood test as an objective measurement of GWI.
- Some GWI symptoms appear to be reduced by new treatments tested in successfully completed high-risk/high-reward pilot studies funded by the GWIRP.,
The discoveries through the GWIRP continue to represent encouraging steps toward achieving the goals articulated by the NAS “to speed the development of effective treatments, cures, and, it is hoped, preventions,” which are also important for current and future U.S. forces at risk of similar exposures and outcomes. Indeed, the GWIRP is a model of how to conduct treatment-oriented research to address complex toxic exposure health outcomes and is succeeding where earlier programs failed. Its two-tier peer-reviewed and highly competitive research funding process ensures the independence and value of the results produced. Unlike the VA’s intramural research program, which only funds VA researchers, the GWIRP seeks out and funds research led by any combination of government, academic, or private-sector researchers and research teams.
We respectfully request that you provide the necessary resources in the FY22 Defense Appropriations bill to support this vital and effective program as it progresses into more advanced, larger-scale clinical trials – a development indicative of the GWIRP’s steady progress, but one that comes with well-justified, added costs. Furthermore, it remains critical to the program's success and accountability that the GWIRP is retained as a stand-alone program within the CDMRP and not be combined as a topic area within broader, less-targeted research programs.
Thank you for your consideration of our request, which is supported by: Blinded Veterans Association, Burn Pits 360, California Communities Against Toxics, Cease Fire Campaign, Disabled American Veterans, Fleet Reserve Association, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Military-Veterans Advocacy, National Veterans Legal Services Program, National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Reserve Organization of America, Sergeant Sullivan Circle, Service Women's Action Network, The Quinism Foundation, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, United Soldiers and Sailors of America, Veteran Warriors, Veterans and Military Families for Progress, Veterans for Common Sense, Veterans of Foreign Wars, VetsFirst, and Vietnam Veterans of America.
 National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, “Gulf War and Health, Volume 8: Update of Health Effects of Serving in the Gulf War,” 2010; Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans: Research Update and Recommendations, 2009-2013,” 2014.
 Yee MK et al, “Longitudinal Assessment of Health Symptoms in Relation to Neurotoxicant Exposures in 1991 Gulf War Veterans: The Ft. Devens Cohort,” J Occup Environ Med, 2020 Sep;62(9):663-668: https://doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0000000000001910
 Sullivan K, et al, “Prevalence and Patterns of Symptoms Among Female Veterans of the 1991 Gulf War Era: 25 Years Later,” J Womens Health (Larchmt), 2020 Jun;29(6):819-826: https://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2019.7705
 CDMRP, “Joint VA/DoD Gulf War Illness State of the Science Conference Draws Hundreds of Researchers and Veterans: Online Event Coincides with 30-Year Anniversary of Operation Desert Shield,” 2020: https://cdmrp.army.mil/gwirp/research_highlights/20Goldman_highlight
 Phillips KF, et al, “Calcium Hypothesis of Gulf War Illness: Role of Calcium Ions in Neurological Morbidities in a DFP-Based Rat Model for Gulf War Illness,” Neurosci Insights, 2020; 15: 2633105520979841: https://doi.org/10.1177/2633105520979841
 Abou-Donia M et al, “Using Plasma Autoantibodies of Central Nervous System Proteins to Distinguish Veterans with Gulf War Illness from Healthy and Symptomatic Controls,” Brain Sciences, 2020, 10(9), 610: https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10090610
 Donovan E, et al, “A Placebo-Controlled, Pseudo-Randomized, Crossover Trial of Botanical Agents for Gulf War Illness: Curcumin (Curcuma longa)…and French Maritime Pine Bark (Pinus pinaster),” Int. J. of Environ. Rsch & Public Health, 2021 Mar; 18(5): 2468: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052468Sincerely,xxxxx
--Anthony Hardie, 91outcomes.com Author and Gulf War veteran advocate.