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From its home at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC), NCIRE supports research that has impacts on the health of Veteransand uniformed personnel throughout California, the United States, and the world.

Here in California, which has the largest Veteran population of any state in the Union, SFVAMC serves approximately 55,000 Veteran patients per year from across the northern half of the state. One out of nine active-duty military personnel is from California; every year, nearly 30,000 Veterans return here from the military to resume their civilian lives.

Nationally, our oldest Veterans - the seven million who served in World War Two and Korea - face the diseases of old age, such as heart disease, cancer, and dementia. Some have had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for decades, and are only now confronting it and seeking care. 

The eight million Veterans of the Vietnam generation are in middle-age. Many face heart disease and other chronic health problems. Hundreds of thousands of Vietnam veterans are affected by chronic PTSD; it was through this generation's tireless advocacy that PTSD was officially recognized as an injury of war. Veterans of Vietnam are committed to helping younger Veterans avoid the long-term consequences of PTSD from which they have suffered for so long.

The four-and-one-half million men and women who served in Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi freedom include a higher proportion of Reserve and National Guard than in previous conflicts. Many, because they are raising families and pursuing careers, are often unable to come to distant VA medical centers for regular treatment. Due to improvements in medical care and advanced body armor, OEF/OIF troops are especially at risk for head injuries. Those with PTSD and traumatic brain injury are at long-term risk for heart disease, auto immune diseases, and dementia as they age. The time is now to prevent a repetition, in this generation, of the long-term psychological and neurological damage experienced by the Vietnam generation.

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March 16, 2017