(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine Dean Christopher C. Colenda was in the nation’s capitol earlier this month to testify on mental health needs of the aging veteran population.

Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., is president-elect of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP). He spoke March 1 before the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies in Washington, D.C.

The AAGP is concerned that mental health needs of the aging veteran population are not being adequately met by current resources. Also, the gap between needs and resources will grow unless Congress increases support for veterans’ mental health care, with an emphasis on older veterans.

Dr. Colenda’s testimony addressed Vietnam-era and other veterans, the needed integration of general and mental health care, long-term care, medication, and research.

“Psychiatric illnesses are real,” Dr. Colenda said. “They cause significant morbidity, co-morbidity and mortality among those who have served their country. We owe our veterans the best that this country can offer.”

The testimony of Dr. Colenda is at http://medicine.tamhsc.edu/dean/testimony.html

The Texas A&M Health Science Center provides the state with health education, outreach and research. Its five components located in communities throughout Texas are Baylor College of Dentistry, the College of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Institute of Biosciences and Technology and the School of Rural Public Health.

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