Shepherd Center’s SHARE Military Initiative is Part of National Network Launched by the Gary Sinise Foundation
Network aims to combat post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury among veterans and first responders.
Shepherd Center’s SHARE Military Initiative is now part of a national network that will serve thousands of veterans, first responders, and their families with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress through the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network. The new network, of which Shepherd Center is a founding member, was launched by actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise and his Foundation to provide transformative care to veterans and first responders experiencing post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries and substance abuse.
“Since 2008, Shepherd Center’s SHARE Military Initiative has empowered post-9/11 veterans and service members with brain injury to live with hope and purpose by providing high-quality, comprehensive, and personalized rehabilitation care,” said Russell Gore, M.D., medical director of Shepherd Center's SHARE Military Initiative. “We are proud to collaborate with our network partners to advance individualized care for veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries. This partnership is an opportunity to extend our national reach and ensure we can meet the needs of service members across the country.”
Shepherd Center’s SHARE Military Initiative opened in 2008 and pioneered the treatment of veteran mild TBI with multidisciplinary therapy. The Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network builds on this work along with the Marcus Institute for Brain Health and the Boulder Crest Foundation’s Warrior PATHH programs.
“When I formed the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011, it was rooted in a personal mission to provide support, raise spirits and improve the mental wellness of our nation’s heroes and their families,” said Gary Sinise, the Foundation’s Founder and Chairman. “Always wanting to do more, as the foundation approaches its 10th anniversary this June, I am proud to announce the launch of the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network. This cognitive health and mental wellness network will further expand our services to veterans and first responders experiencing post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and substance abuse to help heal the invisible wounds affecting too many of our veterans and first responders, transforming struggle into strength and lifelong post-traumatic growth."
Gary Sinise proudly joins together with the co-founders of The Home Depot and renowned philanthropists Bernie Marcus and Arthur M. Blank, who each invested $20 million from their personal foundations to lay the groundwork for the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network. Both are personally motivated to improve and expand upon the care provided to veterans and first responders, and the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network marks the first time that Bernie Marcus and Arthur M. Blank have partnered together since co-founding The Home Depot.
Addressing an Epidemic of Invisible Wounds
The national network’s name stems from Arthurian legend: Avalon was the sanctuary where King Arthur was taken to heal physically and spiritually after being wounded in battle. In that spirit, the Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network is designed to address and help heal the epidemic of “invisible wounds” that afflict too many of our nation’s veterans and first responders.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress (PTS) affect nearly one out of every three military personnel deployed to war zones since 2001. An estimated 30% of our nation’s first responders also experience symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress. Though dubbed “invisible wounds,” the changes in psychological health that accompany these conditions have very visible manifestations, such as depression, anxiety, suicide, and substance abuse, impacting not just the veterans and first responders themselves, but their families as well. Unlike physical wounds, invisible wounds can be passed from one generation to the next. Tragically, these invisible wounds too often can lead to suicide.
The Gary Sinise Foundation Avalon Network will expand on established network partners' success to create a nationwide, integrative traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress treatment and training network.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 743 inpatients, 277 day program patients and more than 7,161 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.
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About the Gary Sinise Foundation
The Gary Sinise Foundation was established under the philanthropic direction of award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, who has been an advocate of our nation’s defenders for forty years. The Foundation’s mission is to serve our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. Its programs—designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen, and build communities—serve America’s heroes and their loved ones 365 days a year. Learn more: www.garysinisefoundation.org.