AURORA, Colo. (May 12, 2017) - A $38 million gift to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and a new $9.8 million partnership, will transform mental health care for military veterans and their families throughout Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.
The Marcus Foundation, an Atlanta-based philanthropic organization created by retired co-founder of The Home Depot Bernard Marcus, has committed $38 million over five years to establish the Marcus Institute for Brain Health (MIBH) at CU Anschutz.
The institute will open this summer as a unique civilian sector program dedicated to serving military veterans with traumatic brain injury and related psychological health issues. The gift was announced at a campus event today. The MIBH will serve as the hub of a network of medical centers under development across the country.
"Our intent is to build a network of healing for those who served our country and suffer the invisible wounds of war," Marcus said.
The Cohen Veterans Network - in a partnership totaling $9.8 million - will work with CU Anschutz to build a mental health clinic to serve veteran and military families in greater Denver with free, or low-cost, personalized care and integrated case management support.
Founded by hedge fund manager and Connecticut philanthropist Steven A. Cohen, the Cohen Veterans Network is creating 25 Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics throughout the U.S. over a five-year period. Clients, veterans and family members will be treated by high-quality, culturally competent, network-trained clinicians, and will receive referrals to additional services at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus and in metro Denver.
"It's not easy to leave, go to a foreign place, serve your country and then come back into society seamlessly," Cohen said. "Especially if you're suffering. The goal of my network is to get veterans back into society in a functioning way."
With the Marcus Institute for Brain Health and the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic, CU Anschutz will expand the significant resources and programs already available to veterans, including a dental clinic, a service dog program, housing for veterans and families undergoing treatment, and mental and behavioral health services. The campus also provides world-class expertise in orthopedics, limb restoration, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology and neurosurgery, and many other areas.
CU Anschutz Chancellor Donald M. Elliman said providing the best care to active duty military personnel and veterans is not just a good thing to do, "it's a moral imperative."
"We have the talent, the resources and the track record that make us the ideal place for the Marcus Institute for Brain Health and a natural partner to establish the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic," Elliman said. "Today marks an important milestone in our history of service to veterans and their families."
Neurologist James P. Kelly, MD, has been named executive director of the MIBH. Dr. Kelly led the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for seven years. NICoE has successfully treated more than 1,300 servicemen and women suffering from TBI and psychological health conditions using a patient-centered model that Dr. Kelly brings with him to the MIBH.
One of those patients, retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Spencer Milo, has been named director of veteran programs at the MIBH.
"As a military veteran who sustained injuries in Afghanistan, I am a huge advocate for the Marcus Institute for Brian Health," he said. "Treatment like the traumatic brain injury therapies now offered here saved my life, and I know I'm not alone."
"This partnership opens up a whole new world of treatment opportunity for those who have selflessly served our country," Dr. Kelly said. "I am honored to lead the charge in delivering tailored treatment options to the thousands of veterans in need of this care, and to bring vital new knowledge to the field."
The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic is slated to open in the coming months near the CU Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. The clinic's primary focus will be serving post-9/11 veterans whose period of service included Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn. Veterans and their families will be treated for issues including post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, adjustment issues, anger, grief and loss, transition challenges, children's behavioral health and related concerns. Pre-9/11 veterans will be considered based on availability of service. A search for the clinical director is underway now.
"The Marcus Foundation and the Cohen Veterans Network will make significant contributions to the quality of care we can provide," said CU School of Medicine Dean John J. Reilly, Jr., MD. "With their support, we will serve more military veterans and their families with the best evidence-based approaches to care available, and we will be building models here that can be simulated nationwide."
"The entire University of Colorado system has long been committed to serving those who have served our country. Our campuses and communities are better places for the presence of veterans and military-connected students, families, faculty and staff," said CU President Bruce Benson. "These new initiatives further strengthen that commitment. We are deeply appreciative of this tremendous support and proud to be able to do our part."