The establishment of the Blast Injury Research Program Coordinating Office (PCO) created a centralized function within the United States (US) Department of Defense (DoD) for ensuring effective mechanisms exist for focusing and coordinating DoD blast injury research efforts and the collaboration with research expertise outside the DoD. Since its inception in 2007, the PCO has overcome long-standing, widely-recognized barriers to communication between the medical, materiel development, test and evaluation, and operational communities, provided the timely flow of critical information, and identified unnecessary and/or duplicative blast injury research, and critical blast injury knowledge gaps that remain. The PCO is leveraging the lessons learned from decades of blast injury research–dating back to the 1950s, to coordinate current efforts and steer DoD research organizations and investments to address these gaps. The PCO's understanding of what was accomplished, and what research remains to be done is critical to focus and prioritize blast injury research efforts as a holistic strategy to make the best use of limited resources.
In response to a Congressional mandate (Public Law 109-163, Section 256) to improve the coordination of blast injury research, the DoD issued DoD Directive (DoDD) 6025.21E on July 5, 2006, which established the DoD Blast Injury Research Program as an Executive Agency. The Secretary of the Army (SECARMY) was designated as the DoD Executive Agent (EA) for Medical Research for Prevention, Mitigation, and Treatment of Blast Injuries, and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD(R&E)) was assigned program oversight to ensure blast injury research is well-coordinated across DoD stakeholder communities. In 2007, following a series of delegations, the Commander, US Army Medical Command (USAMEDCOM), assumed EA authority for the DoD Blast Injury Research Program and established the Program Coordinating Office (PCO) at the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) to assist in fulfilling EA responsibilities and functions. In 2017, SECARMY delegated EA authority to the Surgeon General (TSG), who further delegated EA authority to the Commander, USAMRMC.
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The Blast Injury Research Program Coordinating Office (PCO) supported Executive Agent (EA) responsibilities by:
The Blast Injury Research Program Coordinating Office (PCO) supported Executive Agent (EA) responsibilities by:Disseminating Blast Injury Research Information. Published the Fiscal Year 2008 Annual Report to Congress: Efforts and Programs of the Department of Defense Relating to the Prevention, Mitigation, and Treatment of Blast Injuries that identifies blast injury knowledge gaps and capability needs, describes collaborative research efforts, and documents progress to incorporate blast injury effects data into "end user" programs.
The Blast Injury Research Program Coordinating Office (PCO) supported Executive Agent (EA) responsibilities by:Facilitating Collaboration. Convened biomedical researchers, physicians, and computational modelers from the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Indian Head, University of Maryland, and the Energetics Technology Center to discuss the successes, shortcomings, and opportunities for collaboration in traumatic brain injury (TBI) research efforts. Helmet mounted sensor systems were a key focus of this discussion.
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