Late Breaking News
Advancing Medical Care to Improve Quality of Life for Servicemembers and Civilians
- Categorized in: July 2009 Issue
WASHINGTON—The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (HJF) and the Tug McGraw Foundation are joining forces to host “Country United: Advancing Medicine from the Frontlines to the Homefront.” The two-day event will be held on November 6th and 7th in Washington, DC, and will include a gala as well as a symposium addressing PTSD, TBI, infectious disease, and military/civilian collaborations.
Country music stars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill will co-chair the event. The proceeds from the event will go towards advancing medical care and improving quality of life for servicemembers and civilians. “We would like to raise $1 million-shared equally between the Henry Jackson Foundation and our co-host, the Tug McGraw Foundation,” said Cynthia Gilman, HJF’s special assistant to the president for the Advancement of Collaborative Relationships.
Bringing Military and Civilian Together
The Symposium will comprise of a series of panels that will address: the role of military medicine in global disaster; the role of military medicine in global infectious disease; and the importance of collaborating between civilian and military on this issue of PTSD/TBI. Each of the panels will be staffed with military and civilian experts. “The theme that is going to run throughout the day is the importance of these collaborations in order to advance the care and the research for servicemembers and civilians alike,” said Gilman. “What we are trying to do is to help break down any silos that may exist. None of these silos has been built intentionally, but we find that very often that the military researchers tend to talk among themselves and civilians do the same.”
A wrap up panel at the end of the day will consist of primarily civilian experts discussing the importance of military medicine and how military medicine advances have translated to the civilian population.
Faith Hill will give the keynote address at the symposium. “ She and her husband Tim McGraw are really trying to drive home the point that medical issues that are affecting so many of the servicemembers—both the physical and the emotional—are not issues that the military alone should or can be addressing,” said Gilman. “The military is doing a good job with that, but these folks eventually get out and go home. So this is really not just a military issue, but an American issue.”
The Country United Gala will be emceed by sports commentator Bob Costas, and will feature a performance by Tim McGraw, Faith Hill & Friends.
Funds raised from the event will be split between HJF and the Tug McGraw Foundation. Funding that goes to HFJ will support programs at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences that cannot be funded using federal funds. “The university has constraints on what it is able to spend its federal dollars on, which is no different than any other state university out there that receives federal funds,” Gilman said.
An example of how the funding could benefit the university would be to bring a top civilian neuroradiologist to train university faculty and students. “There is a lot of interest in neuroradiology to look at this issue of traumatic brain injury,” Gilman said. “But the military does not have a slew of top level neuroradiologists for a whole host of reasons…To be able to expand that reach to have, perhaps, a visiting scholar from one of the top civilian institutions come over and do a year at the university to help train some of the faculty and students in this field, as well as to work with existing researchers on some of the work they are doing., They really do need private dollars to do that.”
The Tug McGraw Foundation will use its portion of the funds to promote civilian and military collaborations in the neurosciences and oncology to improve diagnostics, treatments, and quality of life for military and civilian patients. “The neurosciences continues to be the main focus of the Tug McGraw Foundation,” said Gilman. “The reason that they came to us and we decided this would be such a wonderful partnership is because of how much of the military community—particularly when you are talking about traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder—is able to learn from all of the work that the civilian side has done in the brain cancer field.”