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Friday, March 12, 2010
SUPPORTING HOME BASE: Parrish, left,with Palmer
When he was completing his internal medicine training at the MGH in 1973, New York Times best-selling author Michael Palmer, MD, had not yet imagined the transformation his career would take, let alone the impact that the launch of his latest medical thriller, "The Last Surgeon," would have on hundreds of Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans and their families.
On Feb. 16, Palmer and 10 of his friends -- all of whom are accomplished authors -- along with the Thaddeus Hogarth Band, the James Montgomery Band and singer Ayla Brown, joined the MGH and Red Sox Foundation to support the Home Base Program, a partnership dedicated to improving the lives of veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars suffering from deployment-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injury. The authors and musicians were the featured guests of the event, "Books and Bands," held to support the Home Base Program.
"About three years ago I rode on a plane with a veteran with PTSD, and I knew I wanted to write a book about this disorder," says Palmer. "The more research I did about this terrible problem the more I realized that people need to understand what happens in war when men and women face unimaginable horrors. I was very excited at the opportunity to work with the Home Base Program to raise awareness. It was clear immediately that we had a lot of interests in common, and this event could be a lot of fun. I hope that as a group we're able to not only raise awareness around the disorder, but that 'The Last Surgeon' also will help develop a deeper understanding around the issue of PTSD."
John Parrish, MD, director of the Home Base Program and of CIMIT, says that one of the most difficult aspects of PTSD is the unfortunate stigma that prevents some veterans from seeking the help they may need. "Exploring PTSD through a fictional character may help some readers better understand the profound effects of this complicated and increasingly pervasive disorder. One of the goals of the Home Base Program is to reach out in various ways to those veterans and military families who need help and get them into the services they need. This book and this event can be helpful tools in that effort." The Home Base Program, which launched in 2009, comprises multiple components -- including clinical care, family support, research, education and community outreach -- to offer comprehensive support to veterans and their families.
In addition to Palmer, authors who participated in the event were Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Joseph Finder, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Tess Gerritsen, Andre Dubus III, Mark Vonnegut, Gary Braver, Sandra Lee and William Martin.
All proceeds from the "Books and Bands" fundraiser benefited the Home Base Program.
Learn more about the Home Base Program
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