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Reps. Waltz-Luria and Sens. Moran-Menendez introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Leverage U.S.-Israel Partnership for PTSD Research

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, U.S. Reps. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), Elaine Luria (D-Va.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), and Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) re-introduced a bill to leverage research of the U.S. and Israel to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) are also introducing companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.

If passed, the United States-Israel PTSD Collaborative Research Act, would leverage research assets and experiences of the U.S. and Israel to develop best practices in the research, diagnosis and treatment of PTSD. The legislation establishes a grant program for American universities and private non-profits teaming up with Israeli counterparts to research PTSD.

“Thousands of warfighters often struggle to find normalcy after returning home from combat deployments,” said Congressman Waltz. “Through no fault of their own, PTSD does not discriminate and can inflict many of these service members as a natural response. Congress has a responsibility to these brave men and women to find solutions to alleviate the trauma caused by PTSD.”

“Too many of our bravest men and women come home with invisible wounds from the trauma they experienced while fighting for our country,” said Congresswoman Luria. “Congress can uphold its end of the promise by facilitating groundbreaking research to find treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder. The United States-Israel PTSD Collaborative Research Act will help achieve this important goal by promoting cooperation between American and Israeli institutions to develop innovative cures for this condition.”

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, between 11 and 20 percent of veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom have PTSD. Women veterans of these conflicts have a higher rate of PTSD, with almost 20 percent having been diagnosed with PTSD.

People with PTSD may feel detached from others and suffer from depression and anxiety. This can lead to problems at home as families of veterans struggle to help loved ones adjust to civilian life.

Further research of this disorder, coupled with treatment options, can help better recognize, diagnose and treat those suffering with PTSD.

“Through research and science, the global medical community is starting to better understand and treat PTSD which often affects everyday people who we consider our friends and neighbors, such as veterans, law enforcement officers and victims of violence,” said Senator Moran. “This legislation creates a grant program to support collaborations between American and Israeli research institutions to grow our understanding of this mental health condition and to provide treatment and hope for those who suffer from this disorder.”

“PTSD is a serious condition afflicting many of our friends and loved ones, service members, veterans, first responders, victims of violence and others who have faced severe traumas,” said Senator Menendez. “Our bill will help bring the best and brightest minds and researchers together from the United States and Israel to develop greater understanding of the disorder and new treatments to improve people’s lives.” 

“Too many of our veterans come home to experience PTSD,” said Congresswoman Houlahan. “This, of course, is in no way their fault and we must do everything we can to support those who struggle and fight for them as they have for us. This legislation is another way to enhance our critical partnership with our democratic ally, Israel, as we work towards a common goal of combating PTSD. To all our veterans – we will never forget the sacrifices you have made and we will use every tool at our disposal to help you as you transition to civilian life.”

“Israel has long been our greatest ally and it’s no surprise that in the battle against PTSD, we are well positioned to tackle this effort side by side,” said Congressman Zeldin. “It’s estimated that 20 US veterans per day take their own life, oftentimes due to the invisible wounds of war and we cannot afford to waste any time. Inspiring further research collaboration between our two nations will establish an international brain trust invaluable to the servicemembers of both our great countries.”