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War Related Illness and Injury Study Center


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Volunteer for Research at DC WRIISC


To Participate

  • Call us at: 800-722-8340

OIF, OEF, and OND Veterans

  • Diverting the Pathway to Substance Misuse by Improving Sleep

    Principal Investigator: Thomas A. Mellman, MD
    Co-Investigators: Tyish S. Hall Brown, PhD, MHS, Matthew J. Reinhard, PhD

    Background: Sleep disturbances are very common among those with recent deployments and sleep problems are associated with other psychiatric symptoms and misuse of alcohol and other substances. The experience of being on guard and potential threat appears to contribute substantially to these problems and is not explicitly addressed by established insomnia treatments.

    Purpose: The purpose of this study is to develop and evaluate a treatment for sleep problems related to military deployments. The intervention targets nocturnal vigilance and other maladaptive sleep behaviors. We will evaluate its impact on sleep problems and alcohol and substance use habits.

    Eligibility: We are recruiting Veterans who have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan (OEF/ OIF) and report continuing sleep problems to participate in our study.

    To Participate: Please call the Howard University Sleep and Stress Research group at (202) 865-7267 or email us at

Desert Shield and Desert Storm Veterans

  • Complementary and Integrative Health

    • Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for Sleep, Health Functioning, and Quality of Life in Veterans with Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses

      Principal Investigators: Matthew Reinhard, PsyD and Mary Ann Dutton, PhD

      Background: It is well know that many Veterans of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm (ODSS) report a myriad of symptoms that began during or shortly after the war ended. These symptoms include but are not limited to fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, sleep disturbance, and cognitive complaints (ex. concentration, memory).

      Purpose: This study is looking to explore the effectiveness of iRest Yoga Nidra/Auricular (ear) Acupuncture and Gulf War Health Education (GWHE) for Veterans with Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses (GWVI). Preliminary data suggests that an effective treatment approach for what appears to be a broad spectrum problem found in some Gulf War 1 Veterans may include complementary alternative medicine (CAM) approaches. Mindfulness, meditation, and acupuncture can target multiple biological systems all at once, and therefore may be well suited for GWVI. Gulf War Health Education group will promote wellness and prevention by utilizing a practice patient care model.

      Eligibility: Veterans who were deployed during Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-1991)

      To participate: Please contact the Study Team at (202) 745-8000 ext. 5-5768.

Other Veteran Studies

  • Complementary and Integrative Health

    • Reducing Cardiovascular Risks in Veterans by Increasing Mindfulness Skills

      Principal Investigators: Richard Amdur, PhD and Mary Ann Dutton, PhD

      Background: Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of illness and death in African Americans. African American male veterans have exceptionally high rates of hypertension and other cardiovascular disease risk factors. This pilot study is being done to test whether Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a low-cost, low-risk lifestyle intervention that would complement other interventions focused on diet and exercise. MBSR has been shown to improve two important cardiovascular risks: blood sugar and blood pressure.

      Purpose: A research study called the RECOVER HEALTH STUDY is currently recruiting African American male veterans between ages 18 – 64 who have high blood pressure and are obese or overweight. The study will test if mindfulness, which can be described as training attention in a nonjudgmental or accepting way to focus on the present moment, can reduce stress and cardiovascular risk. Participation is voluntary and involves completing a series of physical assessments and procedures, lab tests, and questionnaires and an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course at the DC VAMC.

      Eligibility: African American male veterans between 18 and 64 years old who have high blood pressure and are obese or overweight.

      To participate: Please contact Irene Kamel or Bernie Adams at (202) 745-8201

  • Deployment Health

    • The War Related Illness and Injury Study at Washington, DC Data Repository (DC)

      Principal Investigator: Chris Hansen, PhD

      Purpose: This goal of this protocol is to establish a data repository that addresses both the clinical and research mission of the WRIISC. This data repository consists of clinical, administrative, satisfaction and health care utilization data for Veterans who provide informed consent to include their data in the repository and are seen in the DC WRIISC. Clinically, the compilation of this data will allow the DC WRIISC to systematically collect, organize and view complex clinical data for use by practitioners as they formulate diagnoses and recommendations. Additionally, data analysis will guide continuous quality improvement practices within the DC WRIISC. In terms of research, the establishment of a data repository will help us to better define the health concerns of the Veterans we see. By collecting data about the demographic, clinical, and biomedical findings of Veterans seen at the DC WRIISC, we hope to gain insights into the cause, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions that are difficult to diagnose and treat. With the information gathered from a repository, the DC WRIISC will establish future IRB research protocols designed to improve the post-deployment health of these Veterans.

      Eligibility: Veterans who are seen in the DC WRIISC National Referral Program are eligible to participate in this database repository protocol.