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ADA, others ask Senate to fund military dental research

June 02, 2016

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The ADA, along with 129 other health care professional groups, patient advocacy organizations and universities, is asking the Senate to strike language from the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act that would severely restrict medical and dental research.

In a June 1 letter to Senate Committee on Armed Services Chair John McCain, R-Ariz., and Ranking Minority Member Jack Reed, D-R.I., the groups urged the Senate to remove language contained in section 756 of Senate Bill 2943, which they believe jeopardizes funding for research activities “that have broader relevance to the U.S. military, including the health and well-being of military families and veterans, and the efficiency of the military health care system.”

The groups are also opposed to section 898 for placing “unnecessary and burdensome acquisition compliance and auditing requirements” on programs, noting that defense health research grants already undergo rigorous merit review from both scientific and consumer review panels and are awarded competitively based on innovation, scientific merit and relevance.

“The medical research programs at the Department of Defense directly impact the health and lives of the U.S. military, including combat veterans and their families,” the groups wrote. “They include important medical research programs related to several forms of cancer and other disorders. Grants awarded through these programs have led to breakthroughs on nerve regeneration and traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder — key developments favorably impacting our newest wounded warriors. Other programs provide groundbreaking research on psychological health, Gulf War Illness, spinal cord injury, and hearing and vision loss (which comprise a significant portion of current battlefield injuries). Many of these diseases occur at greater rates in those who have served in the military.”