ADVANCE Blog

Interested in taking part in ADVANCE? Check your eligibility and contact us here.

27th June 2020: Armed Forces Day

Happy Armed Forces Day 2020 from the ADVANCE Study team! Thank you to all our participants and to the Armed Forces. We hope you enjoy the audio clip below about how excited we are about ADVANCE helping soldiers past, present and future.

25th June 2020: Marking Armed Forces Week

Today is Veterans Day on Armed Forces Week and all of us from the ADVANCE Study would like to say thank you to our Veteran participants as we salute our Forces.

In the photos above is one of our participants, Ben, who is an ex Royal Engineer and currently helping us recruit the last few participants to the Study. We asked him what the best part of the day on his ADVANCE visit was. Ben replied: ‘I enjoyed the accessible nature of the day; a great way to connect with like-minded people. Meeting other participants who share the same experiences, who understand ‘what it was like’ in Afghanistan on any Op Herrick.’

11th June 2020: Hello from the ADVANCE team!

We hope you and your loved ones are all well during this time. As you know, our doors are still closed to participants for now but we just wanted to say hello and to let you know we’re still here and we will be in touch as soon as we know when we can see you all again!

We are working hard to find a way of seeing you back at Stanford Hall whilst adhering to government guidelines on safe practices – this will mean a few changes, and smaller numbers of participants permitted to attend per week, but we are positive you will all find the experience just as valuable and rewarding as before when we had more space and freedom.

In the meantime, we welcome any questions you may have for us – please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any. You can use the contact form or email us on dmrc-advancestudyteam@mod.gov.uk.

We will be in touch soon with our latest newsletter and also to let you know about other other research projects that you may be interested in.

Don’t forget – advice and support for the veteran community is available 24/7 here: www.veteransgateway.org.uk.

Take care!

18th March 2020: Message to ADVANCE participants regarding COVID-19

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure the safety of our participants and to follow government guidelines, we are temporarily postponing ADVANCE visits until it is safe to recommence. We will be contacting all our booked participants to reschedule as necessary.

If you want to get in touch with us, either to reschedule or to book an appointment, please email us on dmrc-advancestudyteam@mod.gov.uk or call us on 07554438263/07342065095.

In the meantime, we are still busy in the background looking at all the important data we have collected so far and preparing for your next visit.

Don’t forget, we always need your up-to-date contact details, and you can update them here.

The safety and wellbeing of ADVANCE participants is our top priority, and we wish you all well in these testing times. And we look forward to seeing you in due course!

17th February 2020: The ADVANCE Study Secures Long Term Funding

The ADVANCE Study (ArmeD SerVices TrAuma RehabilitatioN OutComE Study), a unique twenty-year study into the health of military veterans, has secured crucial funding for the next ten years.

ADVANCE team members and study participants at Stanford Hall.

The Study has received a very substantial grant from the Headley Court Charity (£10M), complemented by a special grant from the Nuffield Trust for the Forces of the Crown (£1M) to mark the Trust’s 80th anniversary, and a five-year commitment from Blesma, The Limbless Veterans (£250K).

These grants will assure the future of the ADVANCE Study for the next ten years and will build on the funding from the Ministry of Defence, LIBOR fines and Help for Heroes which enabled the setup of the study and the initial recruitment into the study. To realise the full potential of ADVANCE, multiple follow-ups of the study participants over many years are essential. This will result in many significant research outcomes that will improve the clinical care of combat casualties.

These enabling grants were donated to the ADVANCE Study Charity which supports all ADVANCE activity within Imperial College London, King’s College London and the Ministry of Defence.

Group Captain Alex Bennett, Defence Professor of Rheumatology and Rehabilitation and Chief Investigator of the study, commented: ’We are hugely grateful to the Headley Court Charity, Nuffield Trust for the Forces of the Crown, and Blesma for their generous support which will secure the next ten years of research and allow us to improve our understanding of the long term outcomes of being a combat casualty.’

Lord Boyce, Chairman of the ADVANCE Study Charity commented: ‘We are extraordinarily fortunate to be the beneficiaries of the generous decisions of the trustees of the Headley Court Charity, Nuffield Trust and Blesma. Our thanks go to them on behalf of those who will benefit from the unique learning of the ADVANCE Study, and we shall look forward to demonstrating the impact their donations will enable for our wounded and their families.’

ADVANCE participant Jonathan Grave with Meliha Kaya-Barge from the ADVANCE team.

ADVANCE investigates the long-term physical and psycho-social outcomes of battlefield casualties from the UK Armed Forces following deployment to Afghanistan between 2003 and 2014. This study, costing over £1M per year to run, is a collaboration between the Academic Department of Military Rehabilitation at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) Stanford Hall, Imperial College London and King’s College London, and is the first prospective cohort study in this area. It aims to follow up and support this group of UK service personnel – 600 severely injured servicemen and 600 uninjured servicemen who act as a comparison group – for a period of 20 years. The ADVANCE Study is investigating a wide range of outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, mental health and social outcomes.

The participants will have multiple and thorough health checks over the 20 years of the study and by being involved will contribute towards world class research that will improve future combat casualty care.Participant Jonathan Grave said: ‘I have a genuine interest in health and research and really believe the study has good intentions. And more importantly, I wanted to contribute towards ADVANCE and help research that will support long-term care outcomes for serving personnel and veterans. It is vital for ADVANCE to continue researching the long-term health outcomes of battlefield casualties from 2003-2014. ADVANCE will benefit current and future serving personnel and veterans – it’s just what we need.’

Recruiting participants is one of the biggest tasks of the ADVANCE Study team. As of the end of January 2020 ADVANCE is fewer than 100 participants away from meeting its target of 1,200 participants.Over the next few months the study team will be busy recruiting those last 100 participants. It will be a big milestone to reach 1,200 participants and finish the baseline recruitment, and the subsequent follow-up visits at 3, 6, 10, 15 and 20 years will reveal the results that really will influence future care.

Interested in taking part in ADVANCE? If you were deployed to Afghanistan and sustained an injury which required you to be case-evaced to a UK hospital, or were deployed to Afghanistan without injury and would like to check to see if you are eligible to take part, please call the ADVANCE team on +44 (0)1509 251 500 (ext. 3408) or email dmrc-advancestudyteam@mod.gov.uk. You can also contact the team via the online contact form. If you take part, the study will cover your travel expenses, offer accommodation and give you £100 as a thank you for the initial review and £200 for each follow-up visit.

To keep up to date with the latest ADVANCE news, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

14th August 2019: ADVANCE at the INVICTUS trials in Sheffield

The ADVANCE team had a great week in Sheffield in July for the INVICTUS Games Trials and the Military Rehabilitation and Recovery Symposium. At the Games we had a space dedicated to ADVANCE allowing us to spread the word about this exciting, landmark study, as well as the lovely opportunity to catch up with participants, old and new! HRH Prince Harry even stopped by to hear about the innovative work of ADVANCE during his visit to Sheffield. We also had the chance to cheer on our very own Pete Dunning as he took part in indoor rowing and wheelchair rugby, of which his team won a bronze medal – well done Pete!

At the symposium we heard all about the latest research on military rehabilitation and recovery from experts in the fields of academia, medicine and from the patients themselves. Several members of the ADVANCE study team gave presentations on the study and shed light on the importance of this research. We are now recruiting the last 100 participants for both our injured and comparison groups and look forward to presenting the results from the first phase of ADVANCE! #Last100

13th August 2019: ADVANCE on Radio 5

Group Captain Alex Bennett discussing the ADVANCE study on BBC radio 5 in a segment on the move of the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre from Headley Court to Stanford Hall.

April 2019: Help for Heroes and the ADVANCE study

Heroes Magazine ADVANCE 2019

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