(Washington) -- “Vietnam Veterans of America salutes Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki for the decision to move forward on the Congressionally mandated replication of the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study, making it a longitudinal study of great import,” said John Rowan, VVA National President.
“VVA has long maintained this study can be an invaluable research tool that will help give us an understanding of how to better serve America’s veterans,” Rowan said, echoing the Secretary’s words. “If done correctly, it will be a robust mortality and morbidity study that will be of immense value to the Department of Veterans Affairs, to Congress, and to the veterans’ community. Done properly, it will aid the VA in addressing the physiological and the psychological needs, not only of veterans of the Vietnam War, but in assisting those who served in conflicts since, particularly those who have come home from the current fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
In a letter to the VA Secretary, Rowan added, “As stakeholders in any study about Vietnam veterans, VVA hopes VA officials designing the scope and breadth of this study will consult with VVA and the other relevant veterans’ service organizations in the details of getting the study done correctly.”
Rowan also noted that “VA and DOD have mountains of epidemiological data and other salient information about possible deleterious health effects of service of every generation of veterans. It is time that the VA start investing in systematically analyzing the data they already have to discern where there are particular health risks, depending on what branch of service, when and where a veteran served, and what the MOS or job was in military service. This is particularly true on the connection between toxic exposures, from dioxin in Vietnam to the sarin-laced cloud from Khamisiyah during the first Gulf War, and long-term health risks to veterans. Funding the NVVLS is a good sign that the VA is moving in a positive direction on these issues.”