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November 20, 2017

AAOS Successfully Protects Defense Health Research

Washington, DC -- The Senate on Nov. 16 approved the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sends the measure to the White House. The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) applauds members of Congress for removing harmful language in this final bill that would have impeded vital defense health research. Specifically, the language would have instituted a prohibition on conduct of certain medical research and deployment projects like the Peer Reviewed Orthopaedic Research Program (PRORP). The PRORP, championed by AAOS, works to help military surgeons find new limb-sparing techniques to save injured extremities, avoid amputations, and preserve and restore the function of injured extremities.

“We hate to think of the important ground our researchers and scientists will lose if defense health funding for this vital research program goes away,” AAOS wrote in a letter to Congress. “There is no comparable source for orthopaedic research funding in this field.”

In the conference report, members of Congress expressed concern “with the amount of congressional funding for medical research” but emphasized that the Department of Defense “has a proper and vital role to play in medical research related to combat readiness, especially in areas like prosthetics, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury.”

The final version of the NDAA will ensure defense health research programs like the PRORP can continue working towards providing all warriors the opportunity for optimal recovery and restoration of function. AAOS looks forward to working with members of Congress on this and other important research programs.
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