The Coalition to Heal Invisible Wounds: 2019 Progress Report
Committed to 100 Days Faster
In 2019, the Coalition to Heal Invisible Wounds has continued to drive an active Congressional outreach campaign aimed at making the VA a world-class partner on the most advanced research and development projects related to PTSD and TBI.
Our largest push this year has centered on improving clinical trial startup at VA sites. Right now, less than 2% of clinical trials involve VA sites, meaning that Veterans are often last in line for cutting-edge treatments that are only available through clinical trials. In an effort to bolster the VA’s capacity to change these dismal statistics, the Coalition has identified an objective and strategic reform agenda that centers around improving VA clinical start up. According to industry data, VA clinical trial sites are, on average, 120 days slower to activate than non-VA sites. Because of these lengthy delays — which can cost companies millions of dollars per day — many of our country’s leading research organizations and pharmaceutical companies do not even attempt to bring clinical research to the VA and have not done so for decades. Our “100 days faster” initiative sets a measurable goal that will ultimately put the VA on par with other world class research organizations. It has received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and has also been endorsed by VA leadership in the Office of Research and Development.
In May, the Coalition to Heal Invisible Wounds and the National Association of Veterans’ Research and Education Foundations (NAVREF) organized a multi-stakeholder letter calling on Congress to support our “100 days faster” initiative. Joining the letter were organizations that serve Veterans, including the Navy SEAL Foundation, the Military Veteran Project, and NAMI Montana, as well as patient support groups and representatives of the research community.
In June, our CEO & President Dr. Magali Haas testified in front of the House VA Subcommittee on VA. Dr. Haas testified alongside Dr. Carolyn Clancy, the VA Deputy Under Secretary for Health, for Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks, and Dr. Rachel Ramoni, the head of the VA’s Office of Research and Development, who endorsed the “100 Days Faster” initiative. This hearing was very productive and marked a point of key alignment between the Coalition and VA leadership regarding our reform agenda.