VA Launches 10-Year Health Study of 60,000 New Veterans
WASHINGTON (June 22, 2009) — The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
has initiated a large, long-term study to look carefully at a broad
array of health issues that may affect Operation Enduring
Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Veterans and their
counterparts who served during the same time period. VA's "National
Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans" will begin with
30,000 Veterans deployed to OEF/OIF and 30,000 comparison Veterans who
were not deployed.
"This study will help us fulfill President Obama's pledge to 'stand with
our Veterans as they face new challenges' by enabling us to understand
the health problems of our newest generation of combat Veterans," Dr.
Gerald M. Cross, VA's acting under secretary for health, said. "The
study's findings will help us plan more effectively to provide the best
care possible for these deserving Veterans."
The study will include Veterans who served in each branch of service,
representing active duty, Reserve, and National Guard members. Women
will be over-sampled to make sure they are represented and will comprise
20 percent of the study, or 12,000 women. A combination of mail
surveys, online surveys, telephone interviews, and in-person physical
evaluations will be used to collect data from the Veterans.
The study will compare the deployed and non-deployed Veterans in terms
of chronic medical conditions, traumatic brain injury (TBI), post
traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychological conditions,
general health perceptions, reproductive health, pregnancy outcomes,
functional status, use of health care, behavioral risk factors (smoking,
drinking, seatbelt use, speeding, motorcycle helmet use, and sexual
behavior), and VA disability compensation. VA has contracted with an
independent Veteran-owned research firm, HMS Technologies Inc., to
collect the data.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is responsible for providing federal
benefits to Veterans and their families. VA is the second largest of
the 15 cabinet departments and operates nationwide programs for health
care, financial assistance and burial benefits. The VA health care
system operates more than 1,400 sites of care. Nearly 5.5 million
people received care in VA health care facilities in 2008.