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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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.
As a cognitive neuroscientist, she is discovering ways to build resilience, regain cognitive function and retrain the brain to maximize the immense potential of our most vital organ. Dedicated to improving lives today and changing how the public thinks and acts about the brain and its health, Dr. Chapman is committed to promoting brain health fitness, developing futuristic thinkers, and helping individuals, young or old, think smarter. 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.
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.