The University of Maryland (UMD) and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) have formed a multidisciplinary educational partnership, aiming to help graduate students participate in research projects to help treat wounded warriors.

Via the partnership, graduate students will have access to research facilities; study participants including active-duty service men and women, their families, and military retirees; and investigators whose research focuses on issues pertaining to prevention, diagnosis, and rehabilitation, explains a media release from UMD And WRNMMC.

“This educational partnership agreement vastly expands opportunities for research training of our graduate students, while at the same time providing new streams of financial support for students we wish to recruit to our graduate programs. The partnership also will enable UMD to attract graduate students with more specific interests in studying health-related issues faced by wounded warriors,” says Professor Sandra Gordon-Salant, Director of HESP’s Doctoral Program in Clinical Audiology, in the release.

“The Educational Partnership Agreement between Walter Reed Bethesda and the University of Maryland will open the doors for graduate students to participate in, and design unique translational research studies addressing the physical, behavioral, and social needs of the men and women who have so bravely served our nation,” states Dr. Ken W. Grant, Deputy Director of the National Military Audiology and Speech-Pathology Center, and the Chief of the Scientific and Clinical Studies Section, in the release.

The conditions for which wounded military personnel participating in the research projects will receive treatment include: traumatic brain injury resulting from blast injury; hearing loss resulting from blasts and noise exposure; vestibular disorders resulting from head injury; swallowing disorders following brain injury and penetrating wounds; neuromuscular skeletal injuries, including amputation; and post-traumatic stress disorder and sleep deprivation, per the release.

The new educational partnership expands on UMD’s current collaboration with WRNMMC. Past and current projects, according to the release, include: research on the benefits of cochlear implants for individuals with single-sided deafness; research on speech recognition performance in real-world noise environments to simulate how well military personnel communicate in the kinetic environment that is the battlefield; the development of new measures of working memory and speed of processing that tap into the specific communication problems of military personnel with closed-head injuries; and research on new fluid materials that can be used in a protective vest to guard against sudden and violent movements of the head.

[Source(s): University of Maryland, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center]