The Peer Reviewed Orthopaedic Research Program (PRORP) is one of the most successful Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs housed under the Department of Defense. It is a competitive grant program that has directed $458.5 million to research institutions for basic and clinical research pertaining to extremity war injuries. More than 15,000 patients have been enrolled in studies funded by the program to date, and the results will lead to major improvements in surgeons’ abilities to care for these devastating injuries.
More than half of all combat injuries sustained during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom involved extremity injuries and orthopaedic-specific conditions secondary to battle injury, representing the largest source of long-term disability in returning service members. In addition, extremity injuries accounted for the greatest proportion of medical resource utilization and caused the greatest number of disabled military personnel, accounting for 65% of total inpatient resource spending and 64% of projected disability costs.
Funded at $30 million since 2012, our champions in Congress are asking for $35 million for Fiscal Year 2021. The additional $5 million is needed for the consortiums supporting the PRORP program, which are essential to ensuring that patients are placed in the right program and are not being used for multiple studies unnecessarily. They also serve as a continued funding source in case one program loses funding. These consortiums received initial startup funding in 2009 and limited supplemental funding since, but must now use funding intended for research programs in order to continue operation.