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Department of Defense needs to better coordination of their traumatic brain injury programs

The U.S. military has more than 200 programs devoted to brain injuries and the psychological health of its men and women, but no uniform way to evaluate whether they work or to share their findings, according to a study by the Rand Corporation that was commissioned by the Pentagon.

The Defense Department estimates that nearly 213,000 U.S. military personnel have suffered traumatic brain injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2000. An earlier Rand report estimated that 300,000 veterans of those wars suffered post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression.

The new Rand study identified 211 military programs designed to prevent, identify and treat brain injuries and psychological problems such as PTSD.

The programs range from offerings at individual military bases for a single issue, such as PTSD, to programs used across the services to address multiple problems including suicide, domestic violence, stress reduction and other areas.

Researchers in some military programs didn’t know whether anyone else in the military had similar programs or whether those programs had worked, the study said. It recommended a centralized way to collect findings that are readily available.

The study also recommended that the Pentagon find a systematic way to evaluate which programs work. Only a tenth to a third of the programs targeting any branch of the military had been evaluated in the previous 12 months for effectiveness, the study said.

Researchers said few of the 211 programs had a working relationship with the military care system or a formal way of referring personnel or their families to clinics for care. The study also said the specific roles and possible contributions of some individual programs weren’t clear.

Read the full Rand Brain Injury Study.

The New York brain injury attorneys at De Caro & Kaplen, LLP can provide legal assistance following a brain injury.

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