War Related Illness and Injury Study Center
Airborne Hazards and Burn Pits Center of Excellence
Learn about the Airborne Hazards and Burn Pits Center of Excellence, including work in research, education, and clinical care, below and in the information sheet.
AHBPCE Updated Information ON COVID-19
We recognize that there has been so much scientific and medical information being communicated related to COVID-19. We know that Veterans also have a number of questions and concerns. Yet with so much information out there, it may be difficult to understand the specific implications for yourself, your family and loved ones. The Airborne Hazards and Burn Pits Center of Excellence (AHBPCE) continues to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our Veterans and is taking steps to contribute to what is known and respond to questions that Veterans may have.
The Airborne Hazards and Burn Pit Center of Excellence (AHBPCE) recommends that Veterans follow the CDC guidelines of social distancing, frequent handwashing, and avoid touching your mouth and eyes. The AHBCE continues to study the potential for longer term health implications from exposure to airborne hazards including smoke from burn pits. The VA and AHBPCE will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and all reliable scientific and medical information. As new information regarding this pandemic becomes available, we will continue to update the Veteran and provider community. To all our Veterans, stay safe and thank you for your service. Continue practices that can best support your health.
Please find more information regarding COVID-19 from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Defense.
The Airborne Hazards Center of Excellence at the New Jersey War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (NJ WRIISC), established in 2013, was officially recognized by Congress and the President in Public Law 115-929 as a VA Center of Excellence. Designated as the Airborne Hazards and Burn Pits Center of Excellence (AHBPCE) in May 2019, the Center conducts clinical and translational research related to airborne hazards and burn pits focusing on a range of health concerns including respiratory concerns and unexplained shortness of breath (dyspnea), among other health outcomes.
An important function of the Center is to actively develop and deliver new educational content and best practices related to airborne hazards and burn pits for health care providers, Veterans, and other stakeholders. As a study center with a focus on research, the AHBPCE is utilizing information from the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry to systematically study and evaluate airborne hazard and burn pit concerns through a number of research initiatives.
The AHBPCE is also utilizing data and information from the registry to identify individuals who have completed the online registry and report the following specific health concerns, including:
- Self-reported constrictive bronchiolitis
- Self-reported obstructive lung disease
- Self-reported idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and/or other respiratory disease
- Self-reported shortness of breath of unknown origin (Dyspnea)
Using an established protocol, Veterans who have been identified from the registry may be invited to come to the AHBPCE or a Post Deployment Cardiopulmonary Evaluation Network (PDCEN) site for further in-depth study. Studying Veterans with specific categories of health concerns drawn from the registry will enable researchers to generalize or extend the findings beyond any one individual to a broader group (or cohort) of Veterans. This will also enable scientists and health professionals to accomplish three important things:
- Better identify the relationship between airborne hazard and burn pit exposures and longer-term health outcomes;
- Identify research to improve understanding of health concerns; and,
- Identify possible treatments to improve care.
Monitoring the registry data also enables researchers to identify possible trends or health outcomes of concern so they can be addressed.
The protocol for identifying Veterans to be seen includes:
A thorough chart review to determine if the self-reported health concerns have been thoroughly worked up by a VA provider; whether or not a diagnosis has been confirmed and is accurate; whether the Veteran is part of the VA health care system; and if the Veteran is stable for travel and to undergo the extensive testing performed.
The AHBPCE provides comprehensive cardiopulmonary evaluations. Learn more about our comprehensive cardiopulmonary evaluations.
Learn more about the AHBPCE’s Post Deployment Cardiopulmonary Evaluation Network and research highlights.