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Environmental Health Coordinator Doug Turner: Providing technology help for the Burn Pit Registry

Military Exposures & Your Health: Information for Veterans who servedthe gulf war era and their families
Portrait of Doug Turner

The Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry is a web-based registry in which Veterans with service in certain locations from 1990 to the present can document their deployment exposures and their health concerns. They can then schedule an in-person health exam.

Since the questionnaire is only available online, some Veterans find that they need help with the technical aspects of the registry. Douglas Turner, Environmental Health Coordinator at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System*, has assisted local Veterans.

“I’ve helped dozens of people with the burn pit registry, although most go through it pretty well on their own,” said Turner, a Veteran who served in the Army between 1977 and 1980 and in the active Army reserve until 1986. He has helped people on the phone, via email (without sending personal protected information), and in person. “They’re very appreciative,” said Turner.

For Veterans without computer access, Turner has directed them to the VA library’s free public access computers and even sat down with them to help with questions.

Turner has helped Veterans get approved to participate in the burn pit registry when it initially didn’t show their qualifying deployment. Sometimes, there is missing or inaccurate information in Department of Defense’s (DoD) deployment database even though Veterans are eligible, particularly for Veterans who were deployed before 9/11, for special forces, or those re-deployed within three months. Veterans may need to select “Request an Eligibility Review” within the registry for a manual review of their service.

Turner is also committed to helping Veterans schedule a follow-up exam. Veterans need to contact an Environmental Health Coordinator to set up a health exam after completing the questionnaire.

If you need technical help with the burn pit registry, you can call 1-877-470- 5947. The registry FAQ answers many questions. Most of all, remember your Environmental Health Coordinator is a great resource for help.

*At the time of publication, Doug Turner has left his position as Environmental Health Coordinator at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

Where to go for technical help with the registry

  • The registry help desk provides support from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Eastern Time at 1-877-470-5947.
  • The registry FAQ answers questions about the DS Logon; printing, emailing, and saving the questionnaire; internet browsers and operating systems; and website maintenance issues.
  • For help with your DS logon, call the Defense Manpower Data Center Support Center at 1-800-477-8227.
  • Contact your Environmental Health Coordinator nearest you. Your coordinator can also help you schedule an in-person exam.
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