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Treatment of Troops’ War Wounds Targeted by U.S. Medical Schools

The Obama administration is unveiling a partnership with U.S. medical schools to improve training for doctors who treat military veterans suffering from combat trauma, including brain injuries.

First lady Michelle Obama will announce the initiative at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, later today. She plans to talk about the toll that frequent deployments take on service members and their families, as well as the impact of combat injuries and stress, Brad Cooper, executive director of the White House effort to support military families, said.

It’s “the largest coordinated commitment from America’s medical colleges to support our veterans and military families,” Cooper told reporters on a conference call yesterday.

The plan is led by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. They have pledges from 130 medical and osteopathic schools including those at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

The schools will develop clinical trials and research to help treat veterans and share information among the institutions, according to the administration. The first lady met yesterday with representatives from more than 30 medical associations and organizations to discuss ways to address mental health issues affecting troops.

Long Term Issue

“This is a long term issue for the nation,” Cooper said. “Those presently impacted are young, almost all in their 20’s and 30’s.”

John Prescott, director of academic affairs at the Association of American Medical Colleges, said on the conference call that the 105 medical schools that have pledged to take part have 79 percent of all U.S. medical students.

There will be no federal funding for the effort.

Prescott said the colleges will “share the most up to date diagnostic and therapeutic information as it relates to traumatic brain injury also known as TBI and psychological health conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD.”

Michelle Obama will visit wounded service members at the Virginia Medical Center’s Polytrauma Unit as part of the event today. She will also speak at a Democratic National Committee event in Charlottesville, Virginia, later in the day.

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