Veterans’ expert joins US talks on Syrian crisis

Published: 8 December 2015 at 10:06

Dr Lyndsay Baines

Anglia Ruskin University course leader asked for views on humanitarian situation

An Anglia Ruskin University academic will address United States Government officials and senior military leaders in Washington DC on health and social care challenges arising from the refugee crisis in Europe.

MPs in the UK voted last Wednesday to commence air strikes in Syria in an attempt to eradicate the Islamic State terror group, responsible for the recent attacks on civilians in Paris. This action could result in more people fleeing the war-torn country and seeking asylum in EU countries.

Dr Lyndsay Baines, an expert in global health and the psychosocial aspects of civilian and military trauma, has been invited to the Interagency Health Leaders Roundtable discussion at the National Defense University (NDU) alongside prominent military personnel, health experts and US Government officials.

During the two-day event on Tuesday and Wednesday, Dr Baines will speak about the humanitarian, security and social integration challenges brought about by the European immigration crisis, which saw an estimated 715,000 people apply for asylum in EU countries between January and July 2015.

Other speakers at the event include Dr Jonathan Woodson, US Assistant Secretary of Defence for Health Affairs; Raquel Bono, Director of the Defense Health Agency; and Dr David Shulkin, Interim Under Secretary for Health, Veterans Health Administration, US Department of Veterans Affairs.

Dr Baines is course leader for the MSc Veterans and Families Studies degree, within Anglia Ruskin’s Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education. She previously spent several years in the US based at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, working with wounded veterans returning from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their families. 

Dr Baines said: 

“It is a privilege to be invited to contribute to the discussion on this global crisis alongside some very influential people, including US Government officials. 

“The situation that has engulfed Europe continues to bring up daily issues for those countries which are being overwhelmed by people fleeing from torment and persecution. It is vital that we understand the issues these refugees are facing while ensuring that EU countries can cope with this unprecedented influx.

“This matter is viewed by all allied forces as a military business, given the human security risk of mass movement of people across national borders. Also, the allies are in the process of reflecting on the mistakes from the insurgency war in Iraq and Afghanistan, while being in the midst of an urban war with the so-called Islamic State.”