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Airborne Hazards Center of Excellence

Post-9/11 Vet Newsletter: Information for Veterans who served in Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn.
A soldier stands in silhouette against a large flame from the disposal of mortar charges.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Alexis Castillo watches
as unused mortar ‘cheese’ charges are
disposed by fire during a mortar training
exercise with Iraqi soldiers.
Sgt. Gustavo Olgiati, U.S. Army

The Airborne Hazards Center of Excellence (AHCE) at the New Jersey War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC) helps Veterans and VA to better understand the potential health effects of airborne hazards exposure. For Veterans, the AHCE provides comprehensive medical evaluations of symptoms related to airborne hazards exposures. The AHCE also conducts cutting edge research and shares the most recent, up-to-date research findings and education throughout VA.

Specialty care

If you are a Veteran with airborne hazards concerns, you can first see your local health care teams, and you may be referred for specialty consultations. If you have additional health questions, your VA provider can refer you to be evaluated at the AHCE. The AHCE provides comprehensive, multi-disciplinary, specialty evaluation not available at most VA facilities. They provide a thorough examination with a pulmonologist (lung health doctor) who specializes in airborne hazards, and an extensive environmental exposure assessment. The evaluation may also include assessments of lung function and exercise ability. The AHCE uses its findings and your past medical history to make recommendations to improve your quality of life and manage your symptoms. It shares these recommendations with you and your referring provider for follow-up care.

Cutting edge research

Veterans who volunteer for AHCE studies help researchers understand the effects of airborne hazards exposure. The AHCE conducts studies involving many of the same tests used in specialty care for Veterans, including assessment of resting and exercise gas exchange and cardiopulmonary function. In addition, researchers are also investigating the impact of airborne hazards exposure on cellular bioenergetics and cardiovascular neural control.

ACHE medical professionals also present research and clinical findings at conferences and symposiums with researchers at VA, Department of Defense (DoD), and other leading academic institutions. The AHCE publishes research findings in peer-reviewed journals and creates a variety of educational products.

For more information about the WRIISC, the AHCE enhanced evaluation for airborne hazard concerns, and AHCE research and education efforts, visit

The AHCE is an important part of VA’s efforts to improve the health of Veterans with airborne hazards concerns along with the VA Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry.


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