The Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee today approved the Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Defense Appropriations bill and included direction to the Department of Defense to conduct a study on respiratory ailments of deployed warfighters and to expand research into treating both acute and long-term effects of toxic battlefield exposures.
Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner of Colorado, citing DOD research already being conducted by National Jewish Health in Denver, the world’s leading respiratory research center, requested that the Subcommittee direct the Pentagon to better understand the scope of the respiratory problems facing many deployed and previously-deployed warfighters, many of whom areserving or have serviced deployments to the Middle East.
In 2017, National Jewish was awarded $11.5 million by DOD’s medical research program for a broad study of deployed warfighter respiratory ailments. The five-year study is fully
underway and preliminary findings point to large-scale respiratory problems in both currently deployed and previously deployed military personnel. Short and long-term exposures to particulates from burn pits, explosives and sand are some of the causes of respiratory problems.
The Subcommittee included language directing DOD to conduct the study and report back to Congress within 180 days and called for a broader and more comprehensive respiratory research program to be conducted by DOD. National Jewish is well positioned to become
DOD’s center of excellence for warfighter respiratory research.
The National Group, which has represented National Jewish since 1990, assisted the medical center in its efforts to educate the Subcommittee members on the DOD research it is currently conducting and the need for a broader research program.