A rendering of the TBI Center at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Walter Reed Army Medical Center

National Security staff hits several issues

American Legion representatives stayed busy in a wide range of areas this week, touching on Walter Reed Army Medical Center, TBI/PTS and warrior transition.

• An American Legion representative researched information on the upcoming base closure for Walter Reed Army Medical Center, as well as reviewing Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) results for several soldiers. Many of the soldiers assisted this week came from Ft. Meade, Md. This is proof that the program is working and the word is getting around the military of outside representation being available for the soldiers.

• Jerry Johnson, the Legion’s representative at Walter Reed, also attended a lecture on neuroimaging traumatic brain injury in the military. This was presented by Dr. Gerald Riedy. While this presentation was directed at radiologist and medical personnel, some interesting information was passed as to medical techniques available to detect TBI. It remains evident that there is still no reliable method available to detect mild cases of TBI. However, imaging techniques are rapidly being developed to give greater details of moderate and severe TBI. The largest concern at this point is the time taken for each specific examination, and the lack of uniformity between medical facilities due to equipment and training.

• Also this week, National Security/Foreign Relations Division Director Barry A. Searle participated in a conference call on behalf of the Legion’s TBI/PTS Ad Hoc Committee with representatives of Mt Sinai School of Medicine in New York, Texas A&M University, VA’s VISN 17 chief medical health officer and the Texas Military Forces. The topic was the effort to develop a clinical trial utilizing approved therapy techniques on returning servicemembers and veterans with TBI and PTS. The Legion will be instrumental in outreaching to servicemembers and veterans to participate. Further information will be disseminated as the project moves forward.

• Brian Buckler , the Legion’s MEB rep at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, entered into final discussions with Ft Lewis’s Soldier Family Assistance Center concerning a memorandum of understanding for MEB/PEB services offered at Ft. Lewis by the American Legion. In these duties, the Legion helps an average of 20-30 separating servicemembers with the transition from wounded warrior to civilian life. It is anticipated that the MOU will be completed in two weeks.