A facility coming to CU Anschutz campus this summer will provide unique care for veterans in Colorado.
A $38 million grant from the Marcus Foundation (a philanthropic organization based out of Atlanta) helped fund the Marcus Institute for Brain Health, which is located on the 2nd floor of the Wellness Center. The new facility aims to provide care to veterans who are specifically suffering from a traumatic brain injury or have mental health issues.
Retired Sgt. Spencer Milo will serve as the facility's Director of Veteran's Programs. Milo formerly served in the U.S. Army where he sustained two traumatic brain injuries overseas.
Brain injuries and mental health issues are an all too common problem within the military community, he said.
"It's an incredible number of people that are dealing with these issues," Milo said. "The biggest thing about a brain injury is that it's an invisible wound."
Sgt. Milo suffered his first brain injury while serving overseas in Iraq. Several years later, he sustained another serious head injury in Afghanistan following a suicide bombing, according to Milo.
"You can't help but sit there and think to yourself, why me again?" Milo said.
Dr. James Kelly will serve as the institute's executive director. Brain issues were often overlooked in the past, something he now wants to change.
"Even the term 'post traumatic stress disorder' didn't exist back in WWII," Dr. Kelly explained. "We're actually better prepared to diagnose and treat that now than we've ever been in the history of our country."
With the VA Hospital set to open next year, Dr. Kelly said the goal is to work with the hospital staff to provide multi-layered care for Colorado veterans.
"It's a pretty special opportunity for us right here on this campus with the VA moving over here next year," he said.
In addition to a $38 million grant over five years, the hospital received $9 million from the Cohen Veterans Network for the facility.