Veterans Network

Veterans Network

VeteransAgainstAlzheimer’s is a national network of veterans and their families, military leaders, veterans service organizations, researchers, and clinicians focused on raising awareness of the impact of Alzheimer’s as an urgent health issue for veterans.

 

Click Here to Read Veterans and Alzheimer's:
Meeting the Crisis Head On

Alzheimer’s disease is a rapidly growing healthcare challenge in the veteran community, which faces rising prevalence and unique risk factors, and enormous costs.

Veterans of all ages face unique risk factors for Alzheimer’s as a direct result of their service, caused by service-related injuries, conditions such as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, and other factors.

Together we must shine a light on this urgent issue and demand strengthened initiatives and investments to meet the needs of veterans with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, their caregivers and families.

Our Mission

  • Raise the profile of Alzheimer's disease as an urgent health issue for veterans.
  • Mobilize this community to demand the attention of industry leaders, community stakeholders and policymakers.
  • Increase veteran participation in brain health initiatives and clinical trials.
  • Improve support for family caregivers, relying on a culture of public service among active and retired service members and families.
  • Create public-private partnerships between veterans, the government, corporate, philanthropic and scientific communities to address the needs and diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

Our Goal

  • Through advocacy and awareness in the military community, we are confident we can be of service. We have developed a VeteransAgainstAlzheimer's Network dedicated to mitigating the impact on veterans' families facing this disease and improving the care and support of these veterans and their families.

Advisory Committee

The VeteransAgainstAlzheimer's Advisory Committee includes prominent members of the veteran and research communities who offer thought leadership on the work of VA2, including: 

  • Advice on achieving VA2 goals 
  • Guidance on proposed initiatives
  • Diverse perspectives in decision making
  •  Vetting to ensure successful stake holder partnerships
Madhulika Agarwal
MD, MPH

Dr. Madhulika Agarwal is a seasoned senior physician executive with expertise in integrated health care systems and health policy. She retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs on Dec 31, 2016 after 30 years of service.

Dr. Agarwal served as the Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Policy and Services for the Department of Veterans Affairs from 2011 to March 2016. Her organization’s vision was to lead policy and services development to ensure the best possible health care outcomes for our Nation’s Veterans. In that role she provided executive leadership and direction to many of VA’s Chief Officers and other senior executives, including the Office of Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Policy and Planning and the new Office of the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Informatics and Analytics, Office of Public Health; Office of Patient Care Services; Office of Research and Development and Office of Interagency Health Affairs. She also represented the Department at Congressional briefings, Hearings, with professional societies, veterans’ service organizations, other Federal agencies, private sector and academia.

From 2004 to 2011, Dr. Agarwal served as the Department’s Chief Officer for Patient Care Services. In this position, she led system-wide initiatives to enhance key clinical services that focus on personalized, accessible, high quality healthcare delivery. Some examples of initiatives undertaken while she was Chief Officer included the development of a Suicide Prevention Program to provide immediate assistance to Veterans in mental distress; the Telehealth program to improve access using technology, the MOVE program, which focuses on lifestyle changes and weight management through diet and exercise; the development of VA’s Polytrauma System of Care for seriously injured Veterans; and the expansion of comprehensive Home and Community Based Care services including Home Based Primary Care and the Medical Foster Home program designed to enable Veterans to remain in their homes and communities.

Sandy Chapman, Ph.D.
Founder and Chief Director

Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Director of the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas, Dee Wyly Distinguished University Chair is committed to maximizing cognitive performance and supporting brain systems across the entire lifespan. A cognitive neuroscientist with more than 40 funded research grants and more than 200 publications, Dr. Chapman's scientific studies apply novel approaches to advance creative and critical thinking, strengthen resilience and healthy brain development, and incite innovation throughout life.

Dr. Chapman collaborates with scientists across the country and world to solve some of the most important issues concerning the brain and its health. On the frontier of brain health research, her scientific study melds interdisciplinary expertise across domains of cognitive neuroscience, rehabilitation, brain imaging, medicine and neuroengineering. The over-arching goals are to understand how to better evaluate higher-order, strategic cognition and develop, test, implement protocols to achieve optimal brain performance through enhancing and preserving frontal lobe function. The frontal networks are the connections in the brain responsible for reasoning, planning, decision-making, creativity, emotional down-regulation, and judgment. Dr. Chapman coined the term "brainomics" to define the high economic cost of poor brain performance, and she sees the brain as the most significant path to raise the standard of living globally. Dr. Chapman is discovering informative pathways to improve brain function and cognitive performance in health, injury and disease; testing novel brain potentiators such as non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatment approaches, and testing the effects of multi-dimensional approaches to strengthen brain health \with improved real life functional outcomes. Through her efforts, the Center for BrainHealth has launched its Brain Performance Institute – as the translation arm to deliver rapidly emerging discoveries in cognitive brain health.

With federal, state and private philanthropic support, she is advancing cognitive capacity in healthy individuals of all ages (teenagers, young adults, Baby Boomers); and all walks (traditionalists, business executives, educators, veterans, athletes); as well as those who have experienced concussions and more serious forms of brain injury; those with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); autism spectrum disorder and many others. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, The Hill.com, Psychology Today and has been featured as an expert in national and international publications and media outlets including USA Today, CNN.com, Fox News, Reuters, Neurology Now, The Dallas Morning News, and many others.

David Cifu
Chairman and Herman J. Flax, MD Endowed Professor

David Cifu, MD is Chairman and Herman J. Flax, MD Endowed Professor (tenured) of the Department of PM&R at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine in Richmond, Virginia. He is also Chief of PM&R Services of the VCU Health System and Founding Director of the VCU-Center for Rehabilitation Sciences and Engineering (CERSE). He is the Senior TBI Specialist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He is the Director of Sports Sciences for the NHL Florida Panthers. He has been funded on 42 research grants for over $135 million, including currently serving as Principal Investigator of the VA/DoD $62.2 million Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (CENC). In his more than 25 years as an academic physiatrist, he has delivered more than 535 regional, national and international lectures, published more than 215 scientific articles and 65 abstracts, and co-authored or edited 30 books and book chapters. He is also the Past President of the American Academy of PM&R (2007-8), and Editor-in-Chief of the 5th Edition of Braddom’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation textbook (2015) and Braddom’s Handbook of Rehabilitation Medicine (2017).<

Wayne M. Gatewood, Jr.
MSgt, USMC Ret.,Founder/President, The Gatewood Group, LLC, SDVOSB

Wayne M. Gatewood, Jr., joined the Marine Corps in June 1966, and served in Vietnam during June 1968 through July 1969. During active duty, Wayne earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Management from Wayland Baptist University, and a Master’s of Science Degree in International Relations from Troy State University. After serving 21 years of honorable and active Marine Corps service, Wayne retired from the Corps in July 1987, at the rank of Master Sergeant.

After leaving the Marines, Mr. Gatewood served as a Project and Program Manager in support of a variety of federal government and commercial clients, and during December 1989, established Quality Support, Inc., (QSI) a technical, management, and administrative support services firm that he owned and operated for 27 years. QSI’s clients included the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Departments of Commerce, VA, DHHS, HUD; Department of State; the FBI, NASA, DIA, U.S. Coast Guard, NEH, NEA, UNISYS, Humanitas Inc., and other federal government and commercial clients. On June 12, 2008, at a public ceremony, QSI became the founding member of the VA, CVE Verification initiative, having received its Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Verification Letter from then Deputy VA Secretary, Gordon H. Mansfield. Today, Quality Support remains a VA/CVE-Verified SDVOSB with new ownership, as Wayne sold QSI on December 9, 2016.

Mr. Gatewood has been called upon to present expert small business testimony to Congress. He sits on a number of small business and advocacy councils, and serves as a small business advocate while participating in a variety of small business forums. On a volunteer basis, Wayne provides motivational and entrepreneurial seminars and small business briefings to both government and commercial audiences and to Military TAP audiences. Wayne also provides active duty service members and fellow Veterans with cost-free pre-separation/retirement counseling; resume assistance, mentorship, and networking support.

Currently, Mr. Gatewood is the Founder/President, The Gatewood Group, LLC, a SDVOSB that provides world-wide consultant, subject matter expert services, recruiting services, motivational speaking, and federal government small business consulting services.

Kristina Kaufmann
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Code of Support Foundation

Kristina (Kristy) Kaufmann is the co-founder and executive director of Code of Support Foundation. During her 11 years as a wartime Army wife, Kristy recognized the mental health impact on soldiers and families were not being appropriately addressed. Her determination to improve the approach for providing the support needed to endure repeated deployments often ruffled feathers among senior military leadership but Kristy pressed on. Upon realizing that driving change from inside the system was ineffective, she wrote an op-ed published in The Washington Post, "Army Families Under Fire." The piece resulted in the platform upon which she and her co-founder, Major General Alan Salisbury, USA (R) built Code of Support Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to integrating effort in a highly fragmented veteran support community.

Kristy is considered a subject matter expert regarding the mental health impacts of war on military families, and her publications and media appearances include The Washington Post, New York Times, NPR, CNN and major network broadcast channels. Kristy is a leading force in the cross-sector collaboration drive to facilitate the public-private partnerships necessary to meet the needs of the military and veteran community. She is a 2017 Presidio Institute Fellow and a graduate of the University of California Berkeley.

Robert A. "Bob" McDonald
Honorary Advisory Committee Member, VeteransAgainstAlzheimer’s

Robert A. “Bob”McDonald was nominated by President Obama to serve as the eighth Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA), and he was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on July 29, 2014.

Secretary McDonald led VA in its ambitious transformational journey to be a world-class service provider and the No. 1 customer-service agency in the Federal government to give Veterans consistent, high-quality experiences.

Secretary McDonald’s five Veteran-centric strategies effectively improved the Veteran experience, improved the employee experience so employees could better serve Veterans, improved internal support services, established a strong foundation for VA’s growing c improvement, and enhanced strategic partnerships across the country. The Harvard Business School judged that, thanks to Secretary McDonald’s leadership “team had made impressive progress.”

Before joining VA, Bob McDonald was Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G). Under his leadership, P&G significantly recalibrated its product portfolio, added nearly one billion people to its global customer base, and grew organic sales by an average of three percent per year. This growth was reflected in P&G’s stock price that rose from $51.10 the day he became CEO to $81.64 the day his last quarterly results were announced— a 60 percent increase from 2009 to 2013. During his tenure, P&G was widely recognized for its leader development prowess. Chief Executive Magazine named P&G the best company for developing leader talent. The Hay Group consistently cited P&G in its top-tier listing of Best Companies for Leadership.

Bob McDonald is personally and professionally committed to values-based leadership and to improving the lives of others. Bob and his wife, Diane, are the founders of The McDonald Conference for Leaders of Character at West Point. Bob is Chairman of the Board of RallyPoint Networks, Inc.— an online community of active duty military members and Veterans. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Partnership for Public Service, Audia International, Inc., the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy, the Boulder Crest Retreat Foundation, and the McCormick Research Institute in Orlando, Florida.

Bob McDonald graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1975. He earned his MBA from the University of Utah in 1978. In 2010 the University of Utah Alumni Association named Bob a Distinguished Graduate. The West Point Association of Graduates named McDonald for its admired Distinguished Graduate Award in 2017. In 2014, The President of the Republic of Singapore awarded Bob the Public Service Star for his work helping shape Singapore’s development as an int global companies with Asian firms and enterprises.

An Army Veteran, Bob served with the 82nd Airborne Division. Bob McDonald and his wife are the parents of two grown children and the proud grandparents of two grandsons and one granddaughter.

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