Archive for March, 2016

Congressional Support for Trauma Clinical Research Program Increases

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Following the second annual Trauma Research Advocacy Day on February 23, 2016, 15 Senators and 69 Representatives signed letters to their Appropriations Subcommittees, urging support for the Trauma Clinical Research Program in the Department of Defense Health Program FY17 budget.

The surgeons–all members of organizations that make up the Coalition for National Trauma Research (CNTR)–had provided Congressional offices with information about the toll of trauma in the U.S. and the new DoD program, which provides for the creation of a military/civilian trauma research network to address some of the most challenging issues in the treatment of trauma. In a white paper explaining the program, the advocates asked for another $20 million to be added to the $10 million appropriated in the FY16 spending bill in order to get the program off the ground.

CNTR was able to secure the sponsorship of Senator Christopher Murphy (D-CT) for the Dear Colleague letter to the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee—in the end, signed by 15 senators from 12 states.

The Dear Colleague letter to the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee–sponsored for the second year in a row by Representatives Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD)–garnered 69 House member signatures (20 more than last year’s letter) from 25 states and the District of Columbia.

With support from 15% of the Senate and 16% of the House of Representatives, CNTR is hopeful that its request for funding will be accepted. The outcome of the FY17 appropriations process will not be known until the end of 2016.

Read the Dear Colleague letters and see who signed them on the CNTR website.

Defense Health and Research Programs Support Troop Readiness, Leaders Testify

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Today, leaders of Department of Defense health programs testified at a hearing held by the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Speaking on behalf of their programs were Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, Director of the Defense Health Agency; Lt Gen. Nadja West, Surgeon General of the U.S. Army; Vice Admiral Clinton Faison, III, Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy; and Lt Gen. Mark Ediger, Surgeon General of the U.S. Air Force.

In his opening statement, Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen praised remarkable improvements in combat injury survivability and recognized the importance of DoD research and development of innovative treatments and devices within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. Investments in the program have made it possible for gravely wounded troops to survive and thrive, he noted.

Each DoD leader focused attention on the programs and facilities within his or her jurisdiction and gave examples of taxpayer spending that returns enormous benefits to our service men and women and their families. The trauma resources at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan; research consortia in orthopedic trauma, spinal cord injury, TBI and regenerative medicine; and the trauma system that includes highly trained medical personnel, battlefield units, evacuation systems and rehabilitation facilities were all touted as investments in the readiness of the U.S. fighting force that cannot be overvalued.

In responding to a question from Ranking Member Peter Visclosky regarding whether there were any gaps that were cause for concern, Lt Gen. Ediger made that point that the care provided to U.S. combat troops is more complex than ever before, and deployable medical teams must be ready to deliver that complex care at any given moment. Maintaining their skills and training, he said, is key to maintaining the readiness of the troops.

View the entire hearing.

 

Surgeons Hit Capitol Hill to Talk about Trauma

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Dr. Tom Scalea and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger.

Last week 27 trauma surgeons from across the country visited members of their state Congressional delegations to persuade them to support additional funding of the Trauma Clinical Research Program in the Department of Defense Health Program. All told, the surgeons made more than 150 visits to both Senate and House offices.

The effort was made possible by the Coalition for National Trauma Research, of which NTI is a member.

In addition to their individual meetings, the trauma surgeons heard from Representative Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02), one of CNTR’s champions who is sponsoring a letter to the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee asking for consideration of the Trauma Clinical Research Program. Ruppersberger, whose life was saved by trauma surgeons at Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center years ago following an automobile crash, spoke to the group as a long-time supporter of their work and unwavering champion in the House of Representatives.

Drs. Ronald Stewart, William Cioffi and Donald Jenkins gave presentations during a trauma briefing organized by COL Bob Mabry, serving this year as a Robert Woods Johnson Fellow in the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Education & The Workforce.

It will be many months before the trauma advocates learn whether their efforts to secure a $20 million appropriation for the clinical research program are successful. The program was initially launched with internal DoD funding and received a $10 million appropriation in FY16. CNTR, working closely with a DoD work group, has begun to identify priorities and has already coalesced a group of 140 trauma centers across the country willing to be part of a trials network that can respond to DoD research requests.