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Congressman Hank Johnson

Representing the 4th District of Georgia

Leading Medical Groups Endorse Johnson’s Military Modernization Bill

June 27, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) announced that his bipartisan bill, the Battlefield Excellence Through Superior Training (BEST) Practices Act (HR 1095), has garnered the endorsement of leading national organizations representing a diverse group of physicians.
 
Army flight medics train on human-shaped simulators.The American Osteopathic Association, the National Medical Association, the National Hispanic Medical Association, the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians and the American Medical Student Association have written letters formally endorsing Rep. Johnson’s critical legislation. These organizations count several former U.S. Surgeons General among their leadership and collectively represent more than 255,000 physicians and physicians-in-training throughout the United States.  
 
“For scientific, economic and ethical reasons, simulation is now the gold standard for medical training, and I’m grateful that influential physicians’ organizations are supporting my bill to modernize military readiness programs to replace wasteful animal laboratories,” said Rep. Johnson, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee. 
 
The BEST Practices Act would responsibly phase out the harmful use of live animals for combat medical training in favor of high-tech human simulators and other non-animal training tools that are more effective and economical than controversial animal use. The bill currently has 61 bipartisan cosponsors, including numerous U.S. military veterans.
 
On June 26, The New York Times Editorial Board published a piece supporting Rep. Johnson’s efforts to end the use of animals in military training, writing that, “There’s no reason the Pentagon should continue inflicting cruelty on animals.” According to a new poll from Lincoln Park Strategies, 80 percent of American adults support the phase-out of animal use for military medical training.  
 
“[W]ith the current level of sophistication of human-based simulation and continual improvement of these technologies, transitioning away from animal-based training without compromising care – or soldiers’ lives – is an achievable reality,” wrote John W. Becher, DO, President of the American Osteopathic Association. “This bill will ensure that medical personnel in the Armed Forces receive training through humane methods, and most importantly, are equipped with the critical knowledge and appropriate training to provide the highest possible level of care for the men and women who bravely serve our country.” 
 
“The BEST Practices Act is a prudent and sensible measure that will improve military medical training and help save lives,” said Martin Hamlette, JD, MHA, Executive Director of the National Medical Association
 
“[T]his bill will improve military medical training and patient care for the more than 150,000 Hispanic and Latino active duty service members and others in the military while also saving taxpayer dollars,” wrote Elena Rios, MD, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association 
 
“The bill recognizes what is widely-known among physicians and medical educators, that animal models for emergency medical training have been superseded by human surgical simulators,” wrote Ho Luong Tran, M.D., M.P.H., President and CEO of the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians
 
“Our nation’s physicians-in-training are taught life-saving medical procedures using proven human-based simulation methods, and the members of our Armed Services can and should be taught using these superior tools too,” wrote Deborah Hall, MD, Immediate Past National President of the American Medical Student Association. 
 
•          American Osteopathic Association Endorsement letter 
•          National Medical Association Endorsement letter 
•          National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians Endorsement letter 
•          National Hispanic Medical Association Endorsement letter 
•          American Medical Student Association Endorsement letter 
 
Cosponsors (61): Carson, Polis, Himes, Honda, Grijalva, Cartwright, Lee, DeLauro, Rangel, Cohen, Clarke, Gutiérrez, Clay, Lowenthal, McGovern, Tonko, Fitzpatrick, Slaughter, Schakowsky, Connolly, Blumenauer, Conyers, Lofgren, Brown (FL), Holmes Norton, Maloney, Veasey, Schiff, Hastings, Chu, Quigley, Ellison, Welch, Lowey, Pingree, Esty, Beyer, Lieu, Speier, Price (NC), Roybal-Allard, Meeks, Deutch, Edwards, Farr, Marino, Boyle, Titus, Van Hollen, McCollum, Sarbanes, Napolitano, Takai, Brady, Bonamici, Scott (GA), Peters, Wasserman Schultz, Moore, Costa and Tsongas. 
 
Groups in Support: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine; The Humane Society; American Osteopathic Association; National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians; People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; National Medical Association; Veterans for Peace; National Hispanic Medical Association; American Medical Student Association; National Anti-Vivisection Society.
 
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