Cohen Veterans Bioscience (CVB), a leading non-profit research biotech dedicated to advancing brain health announces its sponsorship for the formation of a Veterans Advisory Council (VAC) to ensure the delivery of meaningful results for Veterans through data-driven science and advocacy. The VAC will represent, advocate and support military and veterans‘ interests to CVB, to Partners, and to the broader community engaged in the support, research, prevention, and treatment of these conditions.
The Council announced 2020 brain health priorities for service men and women and veterans at an inaugural meeting in Washington, D.C. Key among VAC’s priorities is to advocate for data-driven approaches to discover new solutions for the “invisible wounds of war” and raise awareness of brain trauma and related conditions. The goal is to influence the development of diagnostic tools, prevention guidelines, targeted therapeutic solutions and rehabilitation pathways that will mitigate post-traumatic stress disorders, moral injury, substance use disorders and the high rate of suicide.
To this end, VAC outlined its goals to advance brain health in 2020:
- Share veteran’s perspectives, challenges and needs associated with brain health to inform research that will help optimize their health and welfare;
- Lead awareness efforts to engender support and engagement from within and outside of, the veteran’s community for brain health research;
- Increase access and collaboration across the community to prevent, diagnose and treat brain-related trauma and other brain health conditions;
- Reinforce legislation and other measures to garner support and advance follow through on a comprehensive regimen of brain health research.
At the inaugural meeting, VAC also inducted its esteemed leaders and members:
Frank Larkin, 40th U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms and former Navy SEAL who spent 20 years in the U.S. Secret Service where he was awarded the Medal of Valor, among other notable appointments
Brian Losey, RADM(SEAL), U.S. Navy (Ret.) Former Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, and Director for Combating Terrorism and Director for Maritime Security National Security Council Staff under the Bush and Obama administrations, among other notable appointments.
- VADM(SEAL), U.S. Navy (Ret.) Bob Harward, former Deputy Commander, Central Command under Defense Secretary/GEN Mattis, and National Security Advisor nominee.
- Robin King, CEO, Navy SEAL Foundation and wife of the Naval Special Warfare Force Master Chief.
- LTG John F. Mulholland, USA (Ret). Career Special Forces officer who served as Commanding General, US Army Special Operations Command, as Deputy Commander, USSOCOM and as the Associate Director of Military Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency.
- Gayle Tzemach-Lemmon, Partner, and Chief Marketing Officer at Shield AI, Council of Foreign Relations’ Adjunct Senior Fellow, and two-time New York Times Best-Selling Author on the post-9/11 conflicts
“Our military men and women voluntarily step up on the line to serve this great nation with the goal of protecting our freedoms, and many go into harm’s way at their own personal expense and sacrifice,” said VAC Chairman, Frank Larkin. “As a Council, we will be able to further support the brave men and women who are suffering from invisible wounds related to traumatic brain injury (TBI).”
According to Dr. Magali Haas, PhD, CEO and President of CVB, “The VAC will be comprised of senior leaders from across industry, academia and government who have a deep personal commitment to Veteran’s concerns related to brain health. The Council will serve as an independent voice and will also provide advice and strategic recommendations to the Brain Trauma Blueprint as well as CVB’s own mission and research priorities.”
This year alone, an estimated 1.7 million Americans will be diagnosed with a TBI and another 8 million with PTSD. PTSD and TBI are “invisible wounds,” subtle shifts in the brain’s structure and function that can devastate a person’s mood, cognition and mental state. There is no available technology to consistently and accurately diagnose these conditions and there are no new treatments for TBI and PTSD approved in the U.S. for 18 years.
“We need to effectively focus research on brain health in order to prevent, diagnose and treat brain trauma to preserve long-term resiliency and understand ways in which we can help reduce suicidality,” said Executive Director, Brian Losey.
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