Though the death of Osama bin Laden remains a large victory for the U.S., the war in Afghanistan and Iraq still remains. As the 10th tenth anniversary of 9-11 draws near, our soldiers continue to suffer the loss of arms and legs due to improvised explosive devices. Since 2008, the Pittsburgh-based public charity organization Airlift Research Foundation has been focused on “proof of concept research” for troops: smaller-based projects that can make a difference over the next three to five years in the care of extremity trauma survivors and in increasing awareness for the need for this type of research.
“We are looking for simple solutions to complex problems,” said Airlift President Susan P. Lephart, Ph.D, who has been with the organization since the beginning. “We can move things quickly; to be able to change health care this fast is quite unique. Two of the biggest problems coming out of the OIF and OEF are infections and loss of bones, and we’re focused on improving the way these injuries are treated.”
Airlift has the support of fellow Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Doyle, but they also rely on corporations, foundations, and private citizens to raise money for projects such as regenerating bone, cartilage, and muscle tissue through native stem cells by keeping them in the early stages while scientists have the opportunity to use them. Another is a synthetic scaffold project that will allow a femur or thigh bone to bear as much weight as before the blast injury.
Airlift remains research-oriented, looking out for our male and female warriors of the red, white, and blue. “Changing and improving care for these types of injuries to our soldiers will save lives,” Susan states. “I’m so proud to be a part of this work.”
More on Airlift can be found online at www.airlift.org