American Legion Assistant Director for Health Policy, Denise Williams recently attended the Research Advisory Committee (RAC) on Gulf War Illness two-day meeting. The committee was established to provide advice and make recommendations to the secretary of Veterans Affairs on research studies, research plans and research strategies relating to the health consequences of military service in the Persian Gulf.
The meeting featured speakers and researchers who gave presentations on their current research programs. February marked the 20th anniversary of the start of the Gulf War. According to a VA study of Gulf War veterans, about 6.5 million people served on active duty from Aug. 2, 1990, to Sept. 10, 2001. Of that total, about 1.1 million were deployed to the Persian Gulf region.
The American Legion continues to encourage VA to devote the appropriate resources to finding effective medical treatments to alleviate the unexplained physical symptoms of Gulf War veterans. Additionally, The American Legion urges the scientific community to focus its efforts on the most likely causes of Gulf War veterans’ illnesses and to refrain from supporting or encouraging investigations of risk factors that are not likely related to Gulf War veterans’ illnesses.