Defense Base Act Compensation Blog

The Modern Day DBA Casualty

Army Public Health Command won’t release health studies — or even the titles of studies

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on May 16, 2011

By Bryant Furlow on May 15, 2011  Epinewswire

The U.S. Army Public Health Command will not disclose epidemiological consultation (EPICON) studies completed in 2010 — or even a list of EPICON study titles, according to a Freedom of Information Act denial letter sent to epiNewswire.

“We consulted with the Department of Justice and concluded this request is too broad in subject matter,” FOIA officer Kevin M. Delaney wrote in a FOIA denial letter postdated May 5, 2011. “Therefore, we have denied this request.”

epiNewswire had requested the documents in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated Feb. 15, 2011.

The FOIA request sought a list of the titles and dates of Army epidemiolgoical consultation (EPICON) reports conducted since 2001 and completed EPICON reports dated 2010.

epiNewswire also sought the titles and start dates of all incomplete EPICON studies.

EPICON studies are undertaken by teams of epidemiologists and other scientists, like microbiologists, when unexplained health problems or disease outbreaks occur in military populations. Typically, only two or three such studies are undertaken in a given year. epiNewswire is preparing an appeal of the denial decision and has filed new FOIA requests with the Army Public Health Command, for the alleged Department of Justice opinion and other correspondence.

The Army Public Health Command was involved in an internal 2010 study of Army soldier suicide rates that was held back as “a political hot potato” and reanalyzed, because of a finding linking combat deployments and suicide risk in soldiers — a link for which Pentagon officials have repeatedly denied there exists any evidence.
Other Army researchers’ health studies have been suppressed and censored as part of the Actionable Medical Intelligence (AMI) censorship program, epiNewswire reported in 2008. That program appears to be ongoing under the Obama administration, but the Army Public Helath Command has also failed to disclose any related documents over the past year, in violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

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