Maj Emily Fletcher Video (Text Version)
Title: Research with a Comprehensive Impact
Maj Emily Fletcher, PharmD, US Air Force
The Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program is dedicated towards research on things that might have impact on the military, whether it be directly to active duty, in combat, taking care of those that are in harm’s way, to their family members back home, to the Veterans because everything impacts your Warfighter, whether they know that their family is at home and is mentally taken care of and they can have peace of mind while they’re deployed down range, to knowing that they’re going to be cared for as a Veteran and through the rest of their life.
So I’m a pharmacist by trade. I have a clinical research background. I ran my own clinical trial at David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base, and we worked a lot with the cardiology clinic there. So I do have that background in drug development and what standard of use of medications is. Then I also have a background in cardiology, and then diabetes and endocrinology that we specialized in when I was at Travis.
So the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program—our focus areas are determined by Congress. So every year, they outline for us what research topic areas that we will be reviewing for funding. So some of them are returning areas; some come and go. This year, a range of the topics go from dystonia, diabetes, chronic migraine, and burn pit exposure. We also have women’s heart disease, fragile-x, chronic pain management, non-opioid pain therapy. But there are some that are new. Like this year, a new one is eating disorders; sleep disorders is also new this year.
Our goal is to cover as many topic areas as we can with the funding that is provided.
The CDMRP will get a preliminary letter of intent to submit an application where they review those, and—because we understand that it takes a lot of effort to build an entire proposal. So they’ll get that preliminary intent to submit a proposal; then they let them know if this is something that we would like to further see an entire proposal. And then they’ll send it out to two experts in the field who then reviews it and provides their feedback for us panel members to review. And they also send it to a consumer who could be anywhere from somebody impacted by the disease directly, whether it’s them or a family member, or whether it’s a provider or physician that treats that disease state, or to somebody with a good deal of knowledge in that area from the consumer side. So we get two scientific reviewers, a consumer reviewer; they look at it for feasibility impact, and then we take that in at the panel, and we all are divvied up into subgroups where we will review, and then from there we meet together with all the other reviewers of the same topic areas, and then we vote. We review for how it fits into our program, how it fits into our military community. And then we try to maximize as much funding as possible to make sure that we’re funding the best research that’s being presented to us, but also understanding that we want to fund as many different research areas as well.
Some of the amazing advances—like with nanoparticles—that they’re trying to do—and transplants—how to make things more successful—different disease states that you might not have thought that they were doing transplants with—bone regeneration; that’s just a fascinating area—and the robotics and health and prosthesis discovery. It’s like—I didn’t even know that research was going in that direction.
This has been rewarding for myself to be on the team, and then just to see how dedicated everybody is on the panel to moving science forward. It’s something so rare for those of us that are on it. It’s so unique for my career field to be able to be involved in this, especially in the military. It’s just—it’s been a great experience for me.
Last updated Thursday, May 26, 2022