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A population approach to mitigating the long-term health effects of combat deployments.

Reisinger HS, Hunt SC, Burgo-Black AL, Agarwal MA. A population approach to mitigating the long-term health effects of combat deployments. Preventing chronic disease. 2012 Feb 9; 9:E54.

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A major focus of the mission of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is to respond to the needs of military personnel returning from war. Given the broad spectrum of the potential effects of combat deployment on the health and well being of service members, VA is increasingly oriented toward comprehensive postcombat support, health promotion, disease prevention, and proactive approaches to caring for combat veterans. This article briefly summarizes the health care needs of service members returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, describes VA's approaches to addressing their needs, and outlines VA's evolving vision for how to apply principles of population health management to ensure prompt and effective response to the postdeployment needs of veterans returning from future conflicts. At the heart of postcombat care will be population-based approaches oriented to health recovery using interdisciplinary, team-based platforms.

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