Capstone’s Alan Macleod wrote a few thoughts on post-traumatic stress research and some of the concerns arising as a consequence of the shutdown in DC.
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Last month, the Los Angeles Times ran a chilling piece on the emotional and painful journey of Army Sergeant Jonathon Warren as he confronts severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While serving in Iraq, Sgt. Warren saw his best friend nearly burned alive. He has relived that incident daily, until he sought treatment from the VA using the revolutionary BRAVEMIND virtual reality exposure therapy system developed by the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technology, one of Capstone’s clients.
I have spent a considerable amount of time this past week on Capitol Hill with two of Capstone’s clients, including the ICT, providing updates to House and Senate staff on the progress that their respective research institutes are making on research that is supported by the Department of Defense. Their research is of significance not only to active military but to veterans as well.
Our updates were well received by staff, who know the institutes well. Our conversations quickly moved on to the larger issue of the near total dysfunction of Congress and the disproportionately negative impact this dysfunction and the resulting budget impasses are wreaking upon research institutes and universities throughout the country.
We know the story of the past couple of years well; the inability to pass yearly spending bills, the fiscal cliff, the sequester, and, in the last few weeks, a government shutdown amid an effort to defund the health care law and a threat to default on our national debt. What is not as well understood is the long-term negative impact that this way of governing has on our nation’s research institutions.
When faced with financial uncertainty, combined with arbitrary across the board spending cuts required by the sequester, research institutions that are engaged in research on behalf of the government begin to lose their top researchers to the private sector as well as foreign countries. They are forced to lay people off due to projects being scaled back or simply not started.
The long term damage is even more disheartening as students coming in to college or graduate school decide that science and technology degrees, let alone post-graduate degrees, hold no practical future for them as they watch labs shut down across the country.
It is a necessity that Congress do better. We need robust research institutions that are engaged in cutting edge research that provide better training for our soldiers and better treatments for those returning home with wounds both visible and invisible. We owe our soldiers and veterans that at the very least.
The views in this blog post represent the viewpoints of individual team members, not Capstone National Partners as a whole.