In recognition of the first ever federal funding for Home Base’s Signature Clinical Programs Serving Families of the Fallen and Active-Duty Special Operations Forces Experiencing Traumatic Brain Injury
CHARLESTOWN, Mass. – On February 22, 2023, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Representatives Stephen Lynch (MA-08) and Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) joined leadership from the Red Sox, Massachusetts General Hospital and Home Base, in celebration of $5 million in federal funding for Home Base’s Signature Clinical Programs Serving Families of the Fallen and Active-Duty Special Operations Forces Experiencing Traumatic Brain Injury. Home Base is a National nonprofit dedicated to healing the invisible wounds of war for Veterans, Service Members, Military Families and Families of the Fallen, all at no cost to them.
This marks the first ever federal funding support for Home Base’s clinical programs and will be used to support Home Base’s Intensive Clinical Program for Families of the Fallen and Resilient Youth Program for Child Survivors and to support the work Home Base does with active-duty Special Operations Forces with traumatic brain injury.
“The only place I’m prouder to visit in Boston than Fenway Park is this Home Base Center which came into existence 14 years ago,” Tom Werner, Chairman, Boston Red Sox and Red Sox Foundation, Co-Chair of Home Base Board of Overseers. “The Red Sox partnered with the great Massachusetts General Hospital, which has some of the finest psychiatrists, and clinicians in the Country, to create a program that would actually heal the invisible wounds of this war, and ultimately save lives.”
“The staggering statistic of Veterans that have died by suicide remains at more than 20 suicides a day, almost one for each hour of each day. In 2020, suicide was the second leading cause of death among Veterans under age 45,” said David F. M. Brown, MD, President, MGH, Co-Chair of Home Base Board of Overseers. “The need for these innovative programs remains great and our Veterans, Service Members and our Families will continue to need our support for decades to come.”
These funds will enable adult survivors in Massachusetts, and across the United States, to participate in Home Base’s 2-Week Intensive Clinical Program (ICP) for Families of the Fallen. The Intensive Clinical Program for Families of the Fallen (ICPFF), established in 2017 with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), is a groundbreaking outpatient treatment program designed to treat Survivors of Fallen Warriors with up to two years of treatment in a two-week program, combining evidence-based therapy with complementary and alternative medicine. What sets the ICPFF apart from other programs is that it is staffed not only by Massachusetts General Hospital clinicians and fitness and nutrition experts — all trained in Military culture and specializing in treating invisible wounds — but also by Veterans, Service Members and Military Family Members who are subject-matter experts and able to provide high-level peer support through their shared life experiences.
“I speak from the heart when I say our Mass General Spaulding community has an unfair advantage in treating Veteran and their Families’ invisible wounds,” said Dr. Ross Zafonte, President of Spaulding Rehabilitation Network; Chair of the Department of PM&R, MGH, Chief of Traumatic Brain Injury at Home Base. “I have been here at Home Base from the beginning and I have seen how all our partners have come together to create the best programs that our Veterans and their Families deserve.”
“This March will mark the 20th anniversary of the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. With the ground battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, having concluded with the evacuation from Kabul in 2021, there is growing misconception that the need for mental health for Veterans, Service Members and their Families is waning,” said Brigadier General (Ret.) Jack Hammond, Executive Director of Home Base. “The current demand for mental health and brain injury care at Home Base has never been higher than it is today, and funding like this ensures that we can continue to provide essential mental health and traumatic brain injury care for Veterans, Service Members and their Families all at no cost to them.”
This funding will enable active-duty special operators from across the country to attend Home Base’s Comprehensive Brain Health and Trauma Program (ComBHaT). In 2019, Home Base leveraged our affiliations with world renowned health care institutions Massachusetts General Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and the greater Harvard Medical School community, to launch a four-day ComBHaT Program that provides coordinated, integrated, multi-disciplinary specialist evaluation, treatment initiation, and care coordination for Active-Duty special operations forces with mild and moderate TBIs.
“One of my top priorities on the Senate Armed Services Committee has been addressing the often invisible but lasting effects of traumatic brain injury,” said Warren. “I was glad to join local and federal partners to celebrate the $5 million in federal funding that I helped secure for Home Base’s clinical programs to treat wounded warriors. As the new Chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, I will make sure service members, veterans, and their families can access the help they need and deserve.”
“Members of the military sacrifice their own safety and security for our own, and their Families embark on the sacrifice right alongside them. They deserve our support when they’re healing their scars, whether visible or not,” said Senator Markey. “I am proud to have helped deliver $5 million in federal funding to support clinical programs for families of the fallen and the Active-Duty Special Operations Forces Experiencing Traumatic Brain Injury program. These programs help people focus on getting well by enveloping Veterans, Service Members and their Families in an embrace of support through groundbreaking medicine, comprehensive evaluations, therapy, and case management. With these federal dollars and the support that Home Base is providing today, we can help to mend the unseen scars of sacrifice.”
Between 2017 and 2018 it was reported that suicides among active-duty military personnel assigned to US Special Operations Command tripled. Special Operators represent some of the most elite and highly trained Service Members in our armed forces. They have greater lifetime combat exposures based upon an increased number of combat deployments, high-intensity combat training with significant concussive exposures, and highly kinetic missions that result in significant concussive and trauma producing operations. In the post-9/11 conflicts, there has been a surge in the training-related demands and combat exposures for these warriors, with deployments doubling as compared to pre-9/11. These demands have significantly increased the physical and psychological stress on this community.
“Our nation has suffered 65,000 Veteran suicides since 2010,” said Congressman Lynch. “This crisis claims 20 Veterans each day while the Families of our Veterans are often left to themselves to deal with the consequences of war. Home Base is a national model for addressing this crisis. I thank all the doctors, nurses and medical staff at Home Base who are providing this critical care to our active Service Members, Veterans and their Families.”
“The ripples of trauma from the loss of a loved one or family member in uniform require holistic, culturally competent, support services from trusted sources,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “These groundbreaking investments will aid the most important asset our country has—its people. I am proud to celebrate this federal funding alongside my colleagues, our partners, and most importantly our service members and their Families.”
Home Base, a partnership between the Red Sox and MGH, operates the largest private-sector mental health and brain injury clinic in the nation focused on caring for Veterans, active-duty Service Members, Military-Connected Families and Families of the Fallen, healing from the invisible wounds of war. Home Base leverages the incredible medical resources of the MGH, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and the greater Harvard Medical School, to create innovative models of care. Since inception, Home Base has provided clinical care and support to more than 30,000 Veterans, Service Members and Families across the nation – all at no cost to them. For more information visit homebase.org.