From the historic hallways of the most beautiful state Capitol in our nation, this is Senator Keith Ingram.
Throughout my career in the legislature, I’ve been a proud supporter of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
It’s the state medical school, not only for doctors and nurses but also for pharmacists and public health professions.
The hospital associated with the medical school has a renowned cancer institute and a spine and neurology institute.
UAMS has a facility for gerontology, which specializes in diseases that afflict the elderly.
The telemedicine institute allows UAMS to help local health clinics all across Arkansas.
Finally, it has research programs that are developing some of the most important advances in health care.
Just last week the United States Department of Defense awarded a research grant to UAMS that will benefit our military veterans.
The grant is for almost $3 million. UAMS will recruit about 300 Arkansas veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Researchers will measure the long-term health impact of their exposure to toxic burn pits.
The military used burn pits for quick disposal of solid waste, including medical and human waste, chemicals, rubber, Styrofoam, petroleum and lubricants and treated wood.
Jet fuel was used to speed up the incineration process.
In some cases, symptoms developed quickly, such as skin rashes.
But the UAMS study is focused on the long-term effects of chemicals in the bloodstream.
Researchers are looking for possible changes to a veteran’s DNA that could be passed on to future generations.
The UAMS study will provide invaluable research for individualized medical treatment of veterans, who suffer chronic health conditions caused by exposure to smoke and fumes from the burn pits.
About 6,800 Arkansas veterans are registered as having been exposed to smoke and fumes from the burn pits.
UAMS advises that if you’re a veteran and you served in Afghanistan or Iraq, notify your doctor if you were exposed in close proximity to a burn pit.
The potential benefits of the UAMS study aren’t limited to military veterans. The results could also result in better treatment for fire fighters and first responders who are exposed to smoke from chemical fires.
First responders, fire fighters and veterans risk their life and health to protect us, so they deserve the best medical treatment we can provide.
From the Capitol, it is always my great honor and sincere privilege to serve you as your state Senator. This is Keith Ingram.