More than a decade of conflict in the Middle East has pushed invisible wounds, such as post-traumatic stress (PTS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) to the forefront of public health concerns – and the Zensights Adapt or Die panel on the Invisible Wounds at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, was no exception.
On Dec. 2, high-level pharmaceutical leaders and Veteran healthcare advocates across the country, including Home Base Executive Director Brigadier General (ret.) Jack Hammond, The Honorable David J. Shulkin, MD, Under Secretary of Health for the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, David J. McIntyre, Jr., President & CEO of TriWest HealthCare Alliance, and Staff Sergeant Randi Gavell, Ambassador for Invisible Wounds, took the stage for a free-ranging discussion on what the pharmaceutical industry can do now to help Veterans and Service Members recover from the Invisible Wounds and associated perils of their service.
“When it comes to treating the invisible wounds of the mind, we are still operating at the AM radio level of medicine in a digital world,” said Hammond. “The relevance of PTS and TBI is 6 times greater than physical wounds, yet the stigma associated with the two is still a real obstacle in Veterans and Service Members seeking professional help.”
As each panelist shared their beliefs about the pros and cons of pharmaceuticals treating the psychological effects of war, there was one common and shared observation among the group. “There are some very helpful medications that treat the symptoms of PTS and TBI, though all meaningful efforts should focus on the objective of solving the problem, and not just masking the symptoms,” Hammond recalled. “We have learned that a combination of activities has successfully helped Veterans overcome their PTS or TBI, and that includes intensive therapy.”
Following the first panel discussion, Lieutenant General (Ret.) Rick Lynch moderated a panel discussion on the leadership principles of decision making- from a military perspective, and applications in healthcare organizations. From there, President George W. Bush (43) and his wife First Lady Laura Bush joined the Zensights Adapt or Die attendees before dinner, offering thanks for all that has been done by the group to date, and stressing that there’s much more to be done.
“Strategic partnerships are the key to making a national impact, and having important conversations with healthcare leaders is what is going to make a difference in our mission to help Veterans adjust to the civilian world,” adds Hammond.
To learn more about effective treatment methods for the Invisible Wounds discussed in the summit, we invite you to read General Hammond’s featured post on the the Bush Center blog here.