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Emory joins forces with Michelle Obama to combat PTSD and traumatic brain injury

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Holly Korschun

As part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces initiative, Emory University School of Medicine has committed to serving the unique health care needs of veterans, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), through its integrated missions of education, research and patient care.

The Joining Forces initiative includes the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM).

The initiative is aimed at creating a new generation of doctors within medical schools and research facilities that will make sure veterans receive the care worthy of their service.

“We are pleased and honored to participate in the White House Joining Forces initiative,” says Thomas J. Lawley, MD, dean of Emory University School of Medicine. “Emory has a number of innovative and promising research and treatment programs underway that are directed to the health needs of veterans, and we anticipate these will have significant long-term benefits for health and quality of life for these service members.”

  • At Emory School of Medicine, veterans recovering from the traumas of war are treated with virtual reality therapy through the Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Program. This unique treatment results from three decades of Emory research and development of therapies using virtual reality to treat phobias.
  • Emory physician/researchers are leading a national phase III clinical trial using progesterone to treat patients with traumatic brain injuries. The National Institutes of Health-funded study results from a discovery that began with laboratory research at Emory and was translated into a treatment proven successful in early human studies.
  • Using funding from the Department of Defense, Emory transplant surgeons developed a protocol for hand transplantation that combines an integrated expert team approach with advances in immunology aimed at more effective, less toxic immune suppressant drugs.
  • Emory University and the Atlanta Braves recently launched BraveHeart: Welcome Back Veterans Southeast Initiative, a screening, assessment and service program designed to provide veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan access to mental health and counseling services.   

“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, Emory University School of Medicine, the AAMC and AACOM are committed to enrich medical education to ensure that physicians are aware of the unique clinical challenges and best practices associated with caring for veterans; develop new research and clinical trials on PTSD and TBI to better understand and treat these conditions; share their information and best practices with each other through a collaborative web forum created by the AAMC; and grow the body of knowledge leading to improvements in health care and wellness for our military service members, veterans and their 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.

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