7 February 2019

Geneva Launches New Program to Improve Musculoskeletal Injury Care in the Military

The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) recently issued a cooperative agreement to The Geneva Foundation (Geneva) to facilitate the execution of the Collaboratory for Musculoskeletal Injury Rehabilitation Research (CMIRR). CMIRR is a four-year, $15M program funded by the Defense Health Agency (DHA), with the purpose of improving our rehabilitative approach to caring for military service members with musculoskeletal injury (MSI) and ultimately enhancing overall military readiness. MSIs affect approximately 800,000 service members annually and result in 25 million days of limited duty. These conditions are the primary reasons for medical discharge/downgrade, and result in 34% of medical evacuations from theatre.

CMIRR is based at USU in Bethesda, Maryland, and includes interdisciplinary and inter-service (i.e. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, and Coast Guard) partnerships, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense (DoD), and several major academic medical centers. The organization will include a broad scope of research projects including epidemiological investigation, investigator-initiated pilot trials, and prospective randomized multisite clinical trials. Areas of clinical evaluation will comprise general MSI care process models as well as highly prevalent anatomically-specific targeted interventions (e.g. back, knee, shoulder pain, etc.), with protocols examining effective return to running and return to duty activities. Projects will range from cellular therapy interventions to investigations exploring optimization of frequency, intensity, and duration of therapeutic exercise. The results of these studies will lead to evidence-based approaches to guide future clinical practice guidelines and enhanced education of future military providers (e.g. medical, nursing, therapy students) and scientists. In addition, the knowledge gained through CMIRR will be disseminated to the wider military, veteran, and civilian community to elevate the care of MSI across the nation. To maintain military mission focus, the CMIRR will be guided by a steering committee composed of members from the Joint Program Committees (JPCs) at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (MRMC), military operational leaders, and experts in musculoskeletal medicine from the military and civilian communities. In orderĀ  to ensure state-of-the-science high-value research, scientific mentors will be brought infrom other military and academic facilities, including other federal and non-federal agencies to maximize the impact of the research effort. These experts will also provide programmatic oversight to maximize synergies, improve economies of scale, and minimize any redundancies with other efforts. CMIRR will also be a platform for capacity building within the Military Health System for the development of clinical researchers focused on the treatment of MSI and the promotion of military readiness. This will be done by supporting and mentoring young investigators and leveraging the educational platforms that already exist within USU and Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Center and School.

LTC (ret) Nelson Hager, MD, MS, serves as the Principal Investigator of CMIRR. Dr. Hager is the Vice Chair of Rehabilitation Medicine at USU and has 30+ years of clinical experience. COL (Ret) Paul Pasquina, MD functions as the Executive Director, and serves as the Chair of Rehabilitation Medicine at USU and the Chief of Rehabilitation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Geneva Principal Investigator Brad Isaacson, PhD, MBA, MSF, PMP is the Director of Research & Operations for CMIRR and the Lead Scientist for the Center for Rehabilitation Sciences Research (CRSR).


About the Uniformed Services University: USU trains, educates and prepares uniformed services health professionals, officers and leaders to directly support the Military Health System, the National Security and National Defense Strategies of the United States and the readiness of our Armed Forces. www.usuhs.edu

About The Geneva Foundation: The Geneva Foundation (Geneva) is a non-profit organization headquartered in Tacoma, WA. Established in 1993, Geneva advances military medicine by delivering full spectrum scientific, technical, and program management expertise in the areas of federal grants, industry-sponsored clinical trials, federal contracts, and event management. www.genevaUSA.org