The Bob Woodruff Foundation congratulates Dr. David Shulkin, current under secretary for health at Veterans Affairs, on his nomination to serve as the next VA secretary by President-elect Donald Trump, and looks forward to working with the new administration to meet the needs of today’s veterans and their families. The foundation has worked with Shulkin in the past, including participation in a VA veterans suicide prevention summit moderated by BWF cofounder, Lee Woodruff, last year.
“Our veterans, particularly those who have been injured, cannot afford any gaps in care or resources as the new administration takes the reins,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, executive director of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “It’s important that we come together as a nation, singularly focused on addressing the unique challenges facing those who have served.”
Founded in 2006, the Bob Woodruff Foundation creates long-lasting, positive outcomes for post-9/11 wounded, ill and injured veterans, service members and their families, by finding, funding, and shaping initiatives that enrich the lives of these heroes.
To accomplish this, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has worked closely with officials of the past two administrations. And while there have been significant VA successes, such as the MyVA initiative, there’s still much to do. Beyond fulfilling our debt as a nation, we must be mindful that today’s combatants are surviving, and living with the aftermath, of wounds that would have been fatal in past wars.
“Our work goes beyond meeting the present needs of today’s veterans,” said Dougherty. “We must set our sights on the future, as there are still troops in harm’s way and many long-term needs will not be realized for years after the wars are over.”
Nearly 53,000 have been wounded in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, and the wounded include 1,646 with limb amputations. More than 340,000 sustained traumatic brain injuries. Undiagnosed illnesses relating to deployment exposures may be a significant issue in decades to come. A clear plan for the long-term healthcare needs of our military and veteran communities is vital.
Mental health is a huge concern, with the “hidden wounds of war” including post-traumatic stress and depression. Nearly a quarter of post-9/11 veterans have been diagnosed with some type of mental health issue. Though the Department of Veterans Affairs is the nation’s largest provider of mental health care and research, it has struggled to meet demand.
“We have no illusions; the unique issues our military and its veterans face can’t all be solved by the federal government. It will take a public-private coalition,” said Dougherty. “We welcome the opportunity to partner with the new administration and continue to put the needs of veterans first.”
About the Bob Woodruff Foundation
The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s veterans. To date, BWF has invested more than $35 million to find, fund, and shape programs that have empowered more than 2.5 million impacted veterans, service members and their families. For more information, please visit bobwoodrufffoundation.org or follow us on Twitter at @Stand4Heroes.