Veterans of the Gulf War can help steer VA research programs to improve their care.
Veterans who were part of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm can share their health concerns with the VA’s Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses. The committee uses feedback to make recommendations to the secretary of Veterans Affairs for proposed research studies, plans, and strategies to analyze how the war has affected health.
“The voices and stories from Desert Shield and Desert Storm veterans are invaluable for improving care,” according to a statement from Karen Block, a member of the committee. “The Gulf War Program has funded new evidence and implementation based on research projects based on their feedback.”
Gulf War veterans may have been exposed to single or multiple toxins of unknown quantities, Block said.
Twenty years after the war, Gulf War veterans report poorer health than fellow servicemembers of the same era, according to a 2018 study conducted by the National Institutes of Health. Chronic disease management and interventions to improve health and wellness among both groups of veterans are necessary, according to that study.
Veterans can share their health concerns during the committee’s Subcommittee on Veteran Engagement session, scheduled for Feb. 17 from noon to 3 p.m. Eastern. Stream the meeting online or call 800-767-1750 (access code 56978).
The subcommittee, which was formed in 2019, gives veterans a place to discuss health concerns experienced since the war, clinical research, and feedback veterans would like to share with the VA. The subcommittee sessions have developed research partnerships, including a deep phenotyping study with the National Institutes of Health.