Jefferson University Hospitals

The Gary Sinise Foundation Launches National Network to Combat Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury Among Veterans and First Responders

03/08/21

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PHILADELPHIA, PA — Actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise and his Foundation announce the launch of a cognitive health and mental wellness network providing transformative care to veterans and first responders experiencing post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and substance abuse: the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network. The Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network builds on the work of the Marcus Institute for Brain Health and the Boulder Crest Foundation’s Warrior PATHH program, and will establish 20 treatment sites nationwide to serve thousands of veterans, first responders, and their families.

"When I formed the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011, it was rooted in a personal mission to provide support, raise spirits and improve the mental wellness of our nation’s heroes and their families,” said Gary Sinise, the Foundation’s Founder and Chairman. “Always wanting to do more, as the foundation approaches its 10th anniversary this June, I am proud to announce the launch of the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network. This cognitive health and mental wellness network will further expand our services to veterans and first responders experiencing post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and substance abuse to help heal the invisible wounds afflicting too many of our veterans and first responders, transforming struggle into strength, and lifelong post-traumatic growth."

Gary Sinise proudly joins together with the Co-founders of The Home Depot and renowned philanthropists Bernie Marcus and Arthur M. Blank, who each invested $20 million from their personal foundations to lay the groundwork for the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network. Both are personally motivated to improve and expand upon the care provided to veterans and first responders, and the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network marks the first time that Bernie Marcus and Arthur M. Blank have partnered together since co-founding The Home Depot.

Jefferson Health is a proud member of the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network, utilizing integrated care models pioneered by the Marcus Institute for Brain Health to provide individualized plans of clinical care for veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries

Daniel Monti, MD, MBA, the Ellen and Ron Caplan Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Integrative Medicine and Nutritional Sciences at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and the CEO of the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health – Jefferson Health, will oversee this exciting new program at Jefferson. “Our team at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health has put together a highly unique, cutting-edge program in partnership with our colleagues across the Jefferson campus as well as our partners at the University of Colorado. We are grateful for this opportunity from the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network, and this program furthers Jefferson’s mission to aid in the healing, recovery, and preventive treatment of our veterans by building upon the Jefferson integrative model of whole-person care.”

Addressing an Epidemic of Invisible Wounds

The national network’s name stems from Arthurian legend: Avalon was the sanctuary where King Arthur was taken to heal physically and spiritually after being wounded in battle. In that spirit, the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network is designed to address and help heal the epidemic of “invisible wounds” that afflict too many of our nation’s veterans and first responders.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress (PTS) affect nearly 1 out of every 3 military personnel deployed to war zones since 2001. An estimated 30% of our nation’s first responders also experience symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress. Though dubbed “invisible wounds,” the changes in psychological health that accompany these conditions have very visible manifestations, such as depression, anxiety, suicide, and substance abuse, impacting not just the veterans and first responders themselves, but their families as well. Unlike physical wounds, invisible wounds can be passed from one generation to the next. Tragically, these invisible wounds too often can lead to suicide.

The Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network will expand on the Marcus Institute for Brain Health’s and Boulder Crest Foundation’s expertise and successes to create a nationwide, integrative traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress treatment and training network. By leveraging the science of posttraumatic growth — a framework that explains the positive transformation that can occur following trauma — the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network will empower veterans and first responders to cope with, and overcome trauma, and in doing so, transform lives.

Boulder Crest Foundation’s flagship Warrior PATHH (Progressive and Alternative Training for Healing Heroes) program consistently demonstrates significant and longitudinal reductions in symptoms, including: 56% reduction in post-traumatic stress symptoms and a 50% sustained reduction in depression, and a 56% improvement in posttraumatic growth among veterans and first responder participants. Clinical results from the Marcus Institute for Brain Health, which provides specialty care for veterans with traumatic brain injuries, demonstrate a 95% improvement in quality of life and 88% sustained improvement in quality of life among participants after the program’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). 

About the Gary Sinise Foundation 

The Gary Sinise Foundation was established under the philanthropic direction of award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, who has been an advocate of our nation’s defenders for forty years. The Foundation’s mission is to serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. Its programs—designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities—serve America’s heroes and their loved ones 365 days a year. Learn more: www.garysinisefoundation.org.

About the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health 

The Marcus Institute of Integrative Health was established in 2017 by Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health to expand the research, education and clinical care profile of Jefferson’s integrative medicine program, and to set the international standard of excellence in evidence-based, patient-centered integrative care. At two convenient locations, our experienced physicians offer compassionate, individualized care to patients in the Philadelphia region and beyond. Our Villanova, PA, location has launched the most comprehensive brain health program of its kind to address the needs of Veterans, athletes, and others who have suffered from head injuries, cognitive concerns, PTSD, and other brain-related issues. Our approach blends traditional medicine with leading-edge technology, the best brain imaging in the region, and proven innovative therapies. For more information on all of our programs, please visit https://marcusinstitute.jeffersonhealth.org.

 

Media Contacts:

John Brand
John.Brand@Jefferson.edu
215-955-5296

Marielle Gilbert
mgilbert@garysinisefoundation.com
818-444-8862