Former Congressmen Patrick Kennedy and Jim Ramstad launched their “Parity Implementation Coalition” at a March 14th National Press Club luncheon to obtain grass root support for more inclusive treatments for individuals with mental illnesses. The immediate plan is to hold events and hearings in a number of cities to garner public support to ensure that mental illness and drug issues will be insured by insurance companies that treat diseases of the brain in the same way as diseases of the body.
Patrick Kennedy recounted that on October 3, 2008 President George W. Bush signed into law the “Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act”. As he explained, “We need to lobby to complete the unfinished work that this Act intended to accomplish.” Both former Congressmen are strongly calling for Congress to act to establish the final rule for the legislation.
Both speakers are passionate concerning the return of our wounded veterans with brain injuries that is costing lives in terms of suicide and high risk behaviors. However, many of the wounded warriors do not seek treatment through the VA because they feel a stigma in having a mental illness.
Patrick Kennedy also reported on his involvement in a new research mission launched in 2011 along with his friend Garen Staflin called “One Mind for Research”. The mission’s goal is to unravel the profound complexities of brain science, to accelerate cures for diseases of the brain, and to eliminate the stigma and discrimination these brain diseases cause.
The organization has spearheaded a broad-based, international coalition of renowned neuroscientists, advocates, policy makers, and others to help define the first global scientific roadmap for curing diseases of the brain within 10 years.
As Kennedy reports “One Mind for Research” is involved in several initiatives including:
• The Disease Network Alliance to focus on TBI and Post Traumatic Stress. The Alliance is operating as a new public-private partnership to bring the best-in-class science, technology, and expertise together to accelerate research and come up with new diagnostics, treatments, and cures. Partners will include international academic and corporate partners along with DOD and NIH
• A Virtual Biorepository Program to operate as an on-line international registry of biorepositories supported by the Neuroscience Information Framework, American Brain Coalition, and NIH
• A Brain Data Exchange Portal to operate as a federated data sharing technology platform created with J&J and to be managed by the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility with 16 member nations
• A Digital Brain Imaging Toolkit to operate in partnership with GE Healthcare to establish new imaging analytics methodology and to form a public-private partnership for PET Ligand development
• The Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia Leadership Council to operate as a partnership with the New York Academy of Sciences along with citizen representatives to define executable programs able to eliminate barriers to developing cures for Alzheimer’s and other dementias
It was announced by Patrick Kennedy on March 12th, that General Peter W. Chiarelli, U.S Army (Retired) will join One Mind as Chief Executive Officer. Said Chiarelli, “I am honored to join One Mind and look forward to building on the work I did during my time with the Army to draw attention and to initiate support for active duty military personnel and veterans with TBI and post traumatic stress”.