RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday told military members and veterans that more medical schools are teaming up to boost training and research on brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Obama told an audience at Virginia Commonwealth University that 105 U.S. medical schools and 25 schools of osteopathic medicine are bolstering their efforts to train students in treating brain injuries, PTSD and other mental-health issues affecting service members.
To that end, the American Association of Medical Colleges and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine have pledged to devote research, education and clinical care to address military service members’ specific health care needs.
The initiative is part of the Joining Forces campaign, an effort by the first lady and Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Jill, to focus on issues that affect veterans and their families.
Obama cited some examples already are under way at universities, including VCU, which is undergoing a project to provide resources and training to health care providers, volunteers and community members across Virginia to help veterans.
University of Pittsburgh researchers are developing a new imaging tool that allows physicians to see high-definition views of the brain’s wiring, which can help with diagnosing a traumatic brain injury, she said. And the University of South Florida is working with the VA and Department of Defense to create a Center for Veterans Reintegration — a research, treatment and education center for veterans and families.
The first lady told VCU medical students that the profession they’ve chosen is “the essence of true service.”
“This country is counting on you,” she said. “No pressure.”
Obama thanked the troops for their service, and noted that anyone experiencing mental health difficulties shouldn’t be ashamed.
“Seek help, don’t bury it,” she said. “Asking for help is a sign of strength.”
The Defense Department estimates that nearly 213,000 military personnel have suffered traumatic brain injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2000.
An estimated 300,000 veterans of both conflicts suffered post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression, according to a Rand Corp. report.
Obama said fewer than half had sought treatment for PTSD over the preceding year and nearly 60 percent of those reporting a probable brain injury didn’t seek evaluation by a physician.
There is no new funding associated with the initiative, and medical schools will make their own decisions about how to integrate more training and research into PTSD and traumatic brain injury into their curricula.
Before the appearance, Obama headlined a fundraiser for her husband’s re-election campaign and visited a local Veterans Administration hospital. She had another fundraiser in Charlottesville after her VCU stop.
Associated Press Writer Julie Pace in Washington contributed to this report.
Zinie Chen Sampson can be reached on Twitter:
More Related Stories
- For Obama, a new plan to fight terror
- Murkowski: Palin too disengaged to run for Senate
- In IRS scandal, new GOP tactic is ignorance
- Code Pink activist berates Obama at national security speech
- Cuomo: "Shame on us" if New York City elects Weiner
- Coburn calls questions about tornado aid "typical Washington B.S."
- Conspiracy theorists clash over London attack
- Voting is not a right
- Destroying the planet for record profits
- Ahead of Obama's speech, U.S. acknowledges four American drone killings
- Pic of the day: Barack Obama at prom
- Anti-Islam backlash in London after machete attack
- Must-see morning clip: Bill O'Reilly visits "The Daily Show"
- Obama’s drone speech will probably be maddening
- Boehner: "Inconceivable" Obama didn't know about IRS targeting
- Obama to announce new effort to close Guantanamo Bay
- House supporters of KXL received $56m from fossil fuel industry
- Judge tells lesbian couple to separate -- or lose kids
- Obama to address drones, Guantánamo
- If Alex Pareene were a cable news executive...
- Portland's senseless war on fluoride
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11