The Clara Barton Museum Blog

Women’s History Wednesday: Colonel Laura Ruse Brosch

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If you’ve been following Women’s History Wednesday this year, you know many of our posts follow the theme 19th century women kick butt. However, kick-butt women live in every century. Today, we are going to honor someone who is making history.

COL Brosch (left) receives the Major Jonathan Letterman Award

COL Brosch (left) receives the Major Jonathan Letterman Award

Distinguished by her tireless work for the rights and well-being of patients, Colonel Laura Brosch PhD, RN, US Army Retired is both a great leader and a great adviser in the field of military medicine. Colonel Laura Brosch currently serves as Director of the Office of Research Protections (ORP) and Director of ORP Human Research Protection Office Headquarters at the US Army Medical Research and Material Command on Fort Detrick. Since beginning her career as a civilian nurse over 40 years ago, Colonel Brosch has worked to ensure high-quality care for recipients of military medicine.

Colonel Brosch established the Department of Defense guidelines for ethical research on humans who are not able to provide informed consent. In doing so, Brosch navigated both the ongoing debate on medical ethics and changing federal guidelines. She created a research process that did not sacrifice ethics for results, nor vice versa. Brosch’s guidelines have made it possible for innovative research on traumatic brain injury, en-route care, and hemorrhage control to be conducted. Brosch continues to enable ethical and effective research as Director of the Office of Research Protections, where she has been instrumental in initiating new research programs including trauma related research studies incorporating civilian trauma centers. Brosch has also been a key advisor to medical researchers, participating in weekly, if not daily, calls to researchers in Afghanistan and Iraq for seen consecutive years, providing sage guidance.

As Director of the Office of Research Protections, Colonel Brosch established an in-theater Joint Combat Command Casualty Research Team. Brosch understands the importance and challenges of in-theater research. While working as the Nursing Research Consultant to the US Army Surgeon General from 2000-2004, Colonel Brosch led the formation of the first in-theater research team since the Vietnam War.

The impact of Colonel Brosch’s work is far-reaching. Experts estimate that her influence has touched half of all clinical research conducted during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Her work has contributed to the lowest case fatality rate in the history of warfare. Brosch is widely recognized as a national expert of emergency research. She is the Department of Defense’s most valuable research when it comes to complex regulatory, human protection, and ethical issues. She has been awarded the Army Order of Military Medical Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Legion of Merit Medals in recognition of her service and her contributions to the medical field. Most recently, the National Museum of Civil War Medicine awarded her the Major Jonathan Letterman Award.

Colonel Brosch will be speaking at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine on March 4th at 5:30 pm.

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