Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Wilmington VA, UD partnership seeks to bolster research, health options for veterans

UD announced a new partnership with Wilmington’s Department of Veterans Affairs Friday.


The goal of the partnership is to leverage UD’s research capacity in areas pertinent to the chronic health issues of veterans – like cardiovascular health and traumatic brain injuries.

Wilmington VA director Vince Kane says they haven’t had the opportunity to focus on training and research before.


“Working with universities is what – and who – we need to be to take better care of the men and women who’ve served our nation," Kane said.



That rings true for Dave Mosely, a local vet as well as CEO of Delaware’s Center for Homeless Veterans. Mosely needed prosthetics after a car accident in 2009 severed both of his legs.


Seeking the best option, he participated in UD research comparing new prosthetics called BiOM ankles to normal prosthetics.


“They put two skeletons – which were me – side by side - and you could see the better movement with the BiOMs instead of with just the regular prosthetics," Mosely said.


The BiOM is a bionic foot system powered with a battery-run motor that Mosely says helps power his feet forward.


“To me, they’re the best thing since sliced bread," he said.


But the Wilmington VA didn’t cover the devices that come with a price tag of around $80,000 each because they were considered “experimental” – even after being shown UD’s research.


So Mosely went to northern New Jersey for the procedure. He’s hopeful the VA’s new partnership with UD will allow other Delaware vets to receive similar prosthetics closer to home.


A Wilmington VA spokesman says it’s too soon to tell whether the BiOMs will be covered in the near future - but UD’s assistant VP for research Steven Stanhope says the partnership will focus on improving vets access to other areas of care, including remote care through tele-rehabilitation and telemedicine.

"Eventually, we want to establish a really robust VA rehabilitation research program where we can be successful at winning VA merit awards to bring in substantial jobs and dollars to the state of Delaware," Stanhope said. "It's really looking at coming up with new healthcare models to drive care for the future."


The partnership also aims to increase educational opportunities for UD students.

Students in UD’s physical therapy and nursing programs - as well as its speech, language and hearing program - will gain practical work experience through Wilmington’s VA - as well as at the school’s STAR Campus.


It’s possible veterans may eventually be able to seek care at the STAR campus as well.


Related Content