September 20, 2023

Geneva Leads New $9.8M+ Research Program to Revolutionize Military Musculoskeletal Injury Management

Physical therapist pushes a patient’s leg forward to manually find points of pain during a physical therapy session.


Bethesda, MD – The Geneva Foundation, a leading nonprofit dedicated to advancing military medicine, has received $9.84 million to pioneer a deployment-limiting musculoskeletal conditions (DLMC) research program. This initiative, titled “An Integrative Approach to Address Deployment Limiting Musculoskeletal Injuries for the Total Force,” involves collaboration among multiple Departments and Centers at the Uniformed Services University (USU). This research partnership will continue to revolutionize management of musculoskeletal injuries (MSKIs) affecting military readiness.

MSKIs are a significant concern for the Department of Defense (DoD). Each year, about 800,000 service members experience MSKIs, leading to 25 million days of limited duty. These injuries account for 34% of medical evacuations from the battlefield and serve as the leading cause of medical separations from active duty. What is even more alarming is that the rate of disability discharges due to MSKIs has surged 13-fold in recent decades, thereby exacerbating healthcare expenses and burdening the military health system.

This new program leverages expertise and infrastructure from three key USU entities: Musculoskeletal Injury Rehabilitation Research for Operational Readiness (MIRROR), Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP), and the Center for Health Services Research (CHSR). The focus of this work centers around enhancing MSKI surveillance, improving injury prevention, optimizing early diagnosis and treatment, and training and education.

MIRROR was founded in 2018 in response to a request by the Defense Health Agency (DHA) for evidence-based medicine to enhance deployment readiness. The program covers risk factor identification, rehabilitation optimization, injury mitigation, and innovative technologies for preventative and rehabilitative care.

One of the DLMC research projects, led by Geneva Principal Investigator Dan Rhon, PT, DPT, DSc, PhD, is the “PREDICT” study. This study investigates the connection between resilience and soldier readiness, as well as the impact on MSKI burdens. Envisioning that heightened resilience aligns with reduced recurrence rates, swifter recovery, and diminished medical costs, the study pioneers a fresh perspective on recovery prediction that could transform the military’s approach to point-of-care injury management.

Guided by the leadership of MIRROR’s COL (Ret) Paul Pasquina, MD, CHAMP’s Patricia A. Deuster, PhD, MPH, FACSM, and CHSR’s Tracey Perez Koehlmoos, PhD, MHA, this collaborative endeavor will streamline research activities and ensure that efforts remain focused on reducing DLMCs for the DHA.

“As we embark on this transformative journey with the DLMC program, MIRROR is honored to lead the charge in addressing the challenge of deployment-limiting musculoskeletal conditions. Our collaborations with CHAMP and CHSR reflect our dedication to advancing military medicine and supporting the DHA’s vision. With USU’s support, we will enhance health, readiness, and performance for our warfighters and their communities. Our shared mission is clear: to make a lasting difference in those who serve,” said Dr. Brad Isaacson, Chief of Research and Operations for MIRROR and Geneva Principal Investigator.

About The Geneva Foundation

The Geneva Foundation is a leading 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to advancing military medicine through cutting-edge research, development, and education. With a significant presence in the United States and around the globe, our agile approach allows us to provide full-spectrum scientific, technical, and program management expertise in federal grants, industry-sponsored clinical trials, and federal contracts. As a trusted partner, we contribute to the mission of enhancing health and well-being for service members and their communities, driving transformative outcomes for the future of military healthcare.


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