Medical Research Organization with Deep Military Ties Speaks with White House Officials on Cancer Screening and Prevention in Veterans.
Washington, D.C, District of Columbia Jun 5, 2022 (Issuewire.com) – On Memorial Day, members of the local, medical nonprofit, HunterSeven Foundation were invited to the White House for a Memorial Day Breakfast to honor those who have served and are no longer with us.
Registered nurse, Chelsey Simoni of the HunterSeven Foundation found herself in the East Room of the White House early Monday morning with about 50 others, bumping elbows with Senior Military Officials, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Deputy Under Secretary for Health at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and many high ranking government officials.
Military Women’s Memorial President, fellow Army veteran, and registered nurse, CW5 (ret.) Phyllis Wilson introduced Simoni to the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden that morning and offered a brief synopsis of the groundbreaking work on veteran healthcare, toxic exposures, and prevention-based cancer screenings Simoni and the HunterSeven Foundation team are doing. The only nonprofit organization which conducts medical research, evidence-based education, and supports post-9/11 veterans in care, and treatment options during their battles with cancer. Simoni states this is a “proactive approach”, which is different than what you currently see is a reactive approach.
For context, in 2011 Dr. Jill Biden created the “Joining Forces” Initiative, to establish a deeper, more meaningful connection between the community and military veterans encompassing healthcare and health equity. In 2013, the initiative went on to partner with the American Academy of Nurses to create a prevention-based clinical question titled “Have you ever served in the military” Campaign: a simple, yet impactful way to identify those at risk.
Since 2013, Simoni and the medical research, and veteran organization have continued to carry this initiative forward, pushing for evidence-based practices and clinical guidelines in caring for veterans outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs to identify those at-risk for medical illnesses and related cancers from toxic exposures and burn pit exposures while deployed overseas.
Simoni spoke in-depth with the First Lady in the White House on how the framework can positively impact veteran healthcare for the 75% of post-9/11 veterans that do not utilize the Veterans Administration for care.
“It goes against our morality and ethical practice (as providers) to watch in silence as hundreds of thousands of post-9/11 veterans are misdiagnosed daily, ultimately sealing their terminal fate. If it can happen to a four-star general, a Medal of Honor Recipient, or the son of the President of the United States, it can happen to any of us…” said Simoni.
President Biden lost his son Beau, an Army officer at 46-years old in 2015 after a brief battle with brain cancer following his deployment to Iraq and his exposure to toxic burn pits. Looking at the President of the United States, Simoni said “If we asked ‘why’, looked deeper into the cause when Beau suffered a stroke in 2010, it wouldn’t have taken three years to identify he had brain cancer, and he may have still been alive right now. Please, Mr. President, Help us do our job, help us save lives…“.
When asked what led the military veterans and medical providers to create the HunterSeven Foundation, they were able to voice the lived experiences that painfully formed what they currently do each day, and why Memorial Day is unfortunately another day that we are forced to face the cruelties in lack of preventive care.
Simoni and fellow clinical nurse researchers and military veterans from the HunterSeven Foundation team head back down to Washington, D.C. next week to continue the conversation on how to identify, screen, assess, and stop cancers in post-9/11 veterans.