Created by on 05/01/2012

The Friends of VA Medical Care and Health Research (FOVA) sponsored a Capitol Hill briefing on April 25th highlighting the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical and Prosthetic Research program. Two of the briefing’s featured speakers were clinician scientists who also provide care to veterans, allowing for the rapid application of research findings to medical practice. The briefing was standing-room only, with many staffers from congressional offices and the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees in attendance.
Representative Ann Marie Buerkle, Chairwoman of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health, opened the briefing by expressing support for both veterans and VA researchers. She noted that the FY 2012 budget provided greater funding for the VA research program than the President’s budget request, stating it was “the right thing to do.” VA researcher Paula Schnurr, PhD, described a multi-site trial to identify best practices in caring for female veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder; all VA sites are now offering at least one of the two recommended therapies. A previous VA career development awardee and current VA investigator, Randy Kardon, MD, PhD, then spoke of using the eye examinations to detect and monitor a variety of diseases and injuries affecting the brain and nervous system. He plans to develop his findings into smartphone applications that can be used both in the battlefield and at home. The final speaker, Joel Kupersmith, MD, Chief Research and Development Officer of the Veterans Health Administration, reminded the audience of several major medical advances made by VA researchers, including identifying high blood pressure as a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Questions following the briefing demonstrated support for and interest in VA research. 
Slides from the briefing will be posted on the FOVA website. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) is a member of FOVA and was a cosponsor of the briefing. FASEB also submitted testimony to the House of Representatives in support of the VA Medical and Prosthetic Research program, requesting $621 million for FY 2013.