Monday, June 27, 2016

ProPublica, Virginian-Pilot forum asks: Has Agent Orange hurt the children of Vietnam vets?

The Virginian-Pilot and ProPublica will host a panel discussion Thursday morning in Washington as part of their investigation of Agent Orange and its possible multigenerational effects.
The forum brings together veterans activists, scientists, policy experts and officials to discuss health experiences of children of Vietnam veterans, the limited research on the matter and what, if any, responsibility the Department of Veterans Affairs has in caring for those harmed .
“While government officials debate this issue, and legislation stalls that would require the VA to conduct more research, the voices of everyday people can get overlooked,” said ProPublica senior reporter Charles Ornstein, who will moderate the panel. “We look forward to hearing from policy experts and medical officials at this important forum.”
Earlier this month, The Pilot and ProPublica published the story of Pilot staff photographer Stephen Katz, who wonders whether his health problems are the result of his father’s exposure to Agent Orange.
Numerous experts, including Dr. Kenneth Ramos, chair of a recent Institute of Medicine committee that studied Agent Orange impacts, say more research is needed. Ramos plans to join the panel discussion Thursday.
Others planning to participate: Heather Bowser, co-founder of the Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance; Linda Spoonster Schwartz, assistant secretary for policy and planning for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; and Rory Riley-Topping, former lawyer for the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Pilot staffers Mike Hixenbaugh and Katz will also participate. After the discussion, Pilot and ProPublica reporters will record interviews with veterans and their children as part of their joint investigation on the subject.
The forum, scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Barbara Jordan Conference Center, is free and open to the public.

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