November Progress Notes

THE WASHINGTON  VA MEDICAL CENTER (DCVAMC) opened its newly constructed Southern Prince Georges County Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) last month near Joint Base Andrews. This CBOC will offer veterans a variety of healthcare services including: primary and preventive care, comprehensive women’s healthcare, audiology and mental-health services. In November, services will be expanded to include a state-of-the art Dental Clinic — the first CBOC in the DCVAMC health system to offer dental services. The CBOC will fulfill a vital need for veterans living in southern Maryland, giving them easy access to healthcare. This new CBOC will be the fifth clinic operated by DCVAMC.

RODERIC PETTIGREW, PHD, MD, DIRECTOR OF NIH’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) has been selected to receive the 2011 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). It is the most prestigious award conferred by the society to a non-academic institution for contributions of preeminent importance to the field of biomedical engineering. BMES selected Pettigrew as the recipient, due to his significant contributions to the field of biomedical engineering. According to BMES officials, thanks to Pettigrew, NIBIB has become a catalyst for medical-technology development and innovation by conducting and funding seminal research in biomedical imaging and bioengineering. Pettigrew is known for his pioneering research at Emory University in Atlanta involving four-dimensional imaging of the cardiovascular system using magnetic resonance.

THE 2011 NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE has been awarded to NIH grantees Bruce A. Beutler, MD, of The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, and Jules A. Hoffmann, PhD, for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity, and the late Ralph M. Steinman, MD, of Rockefeller University, New York City for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity. The NIH began supporting the work of Beutler in 1984 and has provided almost $58 million in support. Beutler’s work has been supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the National Cancer Institute. Hoffmann has received almost $7 million in support from NIAID since 1998. NIAID began supporting the work of Steinman in 1976 and provided more than $49 million in support.

VA HAS AWARDED A MAJOR CONTRACT TO BUILD A NEW PALO ALTO REHABILITATION FACILITY. In 2005, the VA Palo Alto Health Care System was designated a Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center. Since then, the program has been housed in an existing facility originally constructed in 1960. The Western Blind Rehabilitation Center, which began in 1967, has been housed in a building constructed in 1977. The $98.8 million contract was awarded to Walsh/DeMaria Joint Venture V of Chicago on Sept. 30. Construction is scheduled to be completed in spring 2014. This will be VA’s first and only Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center to be combined with a Blind Rehabilitation Center. At 174,000 square feet, this new facility is the largest consolidated rehabilitation center in VA. The Rehabilitation Center includes 24 beds for the polytrauma program, 32 beds for the blind rehabilitation program and 12 beds for the polytrauma transitional rehabilitation program. The center will also have an outpatient physical therapy/occupational therapy clinic, an outpatient physical medicine and rehabilitation clinic and clinical programs for Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans. In addition to the new Polytrauma-Blind Rehabilitation Center, a 600-car, four-story parking garage will be constructed adjacent to the new facility to support the growing demand for onsite parking.

VA HAS LAUNCHED A CAMPAIGN TO INCREASE AWARNESS OF TBI and the services that VA can provide. The campaign debuted with a 25-minute documentary last week highlighting individual stories of recovery for some of the most severely injured and wounded veterans through the VA Polytrauma System of Care at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, VA. The documentary and other videos can be viewed at To promote awareness of TBI and services available to veterans, VA has released a series of products, including public service announcements featuring Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild SAG Award winner and Academy Award nominee Gary Sinise. The pieces highlight the fact that effects of TBI can range from mild to severe, lasting for a brief or prolonged period of time. 

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