• VA should ensure that its initiatives under the Women Veterans Health Programs specifically provide information about Gulf War-related programs.
  • VA should ensure that its outreach to Latino populations specifically provides information about Gulf War-related programs. As the Committee stated in its Interim Report, DOD and VA should develop and utilize more refined performance measures to determine how well outreach services are reaching concerned parties. DOD and VA officials (specifically those in the American Forces Information Service and its broadcasting arm, the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service) using media products for outreach initiatives should be aware of the difficulty in enumerating the actual readership and viewership figures and be concerned about how effectively their message saturates the targeted population.
  • DOD should reissue its Internal Information Plan on Gulf War-related illnesses. It should make a special effort to note the revision provides the tollfree number and that individuals are encouraged to register for its Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program. It also should take this opportunity to provide updated information.
  • In an attempt to increase veterans' and the public's awareness and understanding of the full range of the government's commitment to addressing the nature of Gulf War veterans' illnesses, DOD and VA should reevaluate the goals and objectives of their risk communication efforts. DOD and VA should develop effective methods that provide the affected community with comprehensive information concerning possible exposures to environmental hazards, potential health effects from risk factors, and explanations of ongoing and completed clinical and epidemiologic studies.
  • DOD and VA should immediately develop and implement a comprehensive risk communication plan. This effort should move forward in close cooperation with agencies that have a high degree of public trust and experience with risk communication, such as the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
  • Because health risk information and education applies to service members who remain on active duty, members of the Reserves and National Guard, and veterans no longer in military service, DOD and VA should closely coordinate the federal government's risk communication effort for Gulf War veterans and other members of the affected community. Departmental commitments to any plan should be viewed as continuous and long-term; a sustained effort is particularly critical in light of veterans' and public skepticism arising from the recent revelations related to chemical weapons.
  • In its coordinated risk communication plan, DOD and VA should engage veterans service organizations as intermediaries-and include personnel in leadership positions, such as senior enlisted personnel (for active duty military)

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