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VA Cooperative Studies Program (CSP)

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CSP #595: Service and Health During the Iraq and Afghanistan Era (Pilot)


Investigator Access

What's Available

  • Research data: Individual participant data that underlie the results reported in the primary publication (SAS, Stata, SPSS, Excel, CSV, and text file formats)
  • Participant contact information: Name and contact information of participants granting permission to be contacted for further research. (Contact information in SAS, Stata, SPSS, Excel, CSV, and text file formats) 

Available Documentation 

Check with the study contact and publications for information on a public dataset, data archive, data enclave, or website where data might be available. 

Dates Data are Available 

  • Participant contact information: Unconfirmed
  • Research data: Currently available, no end date

Access Criteria 

Qualified VA and non-VA investigators working for nonprofit, academic, and research centers are invited to submit a Research Resource Request form to the Project Manager at All requests are reviewed for scientific and ethical merit. Access is contingent upon approval by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) and, if applicable, a VA Research and Development (R&D) Committee. 

Requestors must be fully compliant with VA data security, privacy and human subjects requirements. This may involve implementation of data access agreements.  Allowable analyses include those designed to achieve the aims in the approved proposal.

Study Characteristics


The primary aims of the pilot were:

  1. To determine the optimal methods for recruitment of participants
  2. To assess the participation rates and demographic, health-related, and military service-related factors influencing participation
  3. To demonstrate the proposed individual exposure reconstruction techniques are feasible

The aim of the CSP #595 main study is to assess the association of airborne exposures encountered during deployment with current measures of respiratory health among U.S. military Veterans who served in Iraq (Mar 2003 – Dec 2011) and Afghanistan (Oct 2001-current). The pilot study provided key information to move forward with planning the full study.

Era of Service

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)
Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
Operation New Dawn (OND)


Inclusion criteria:

  1. Veterans who served during the Iraq and Afghanistan Era and were discharged from the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Navy
  2. Veterans were eligible without regard to deployment or combat status and without regard to current or past user status in the VHA

Exclusion criteria: 

  1. Veterans of the Coast Guard, including Guard and Reserve Units

Study Design 

Cross-sectional cohort 

Time Period 

October 2014 - December 2015




Mailed survey: N = 137
Telephone interview: N = 121

Response Rate

Mailed survey: 23.2%
Telephone interview: 20.5%

Recruitment Method    

Identified from the Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) and recruited using one of four approaches: Participants were randomly selected to be in one of four recruitment modes:

  1. Long (20 page) survey mailed
  2. Short (15 page) survey mailed
  3. Short (15-30 minute) telephone interview
  4. Long (30-45 minute) telephone interview

For each approach, Veterans were mailed an introductory letter and information statement along with a form to opt-out of the study.


$25 for completing mail or telephone survey

Data Collected

Exposure to particulate matter, respiratory symptoms, military history, demographics

Data Collection Methods

  • Mail survey
  • Telephone interview

Funding Source 

VA Cooperative Studies Program (CSP)


Selected Publications 

Chudnovsky A, Koutrakis P, Kostinski A, Proctor S, Garshick E. Spatial and Temporal Variability in Desert Dust and Anthropogenic Pollution in Iraq 1997-2010. J Air Waste Manag Assoc.2017;67(1):17-26.

Masri S, Garshick E, Coull B, Koutrakis P. A Novel Calibration Approach Using Satellite and Visibility Observations to Estimate PM2.5 Exposures in Southwest Asia and Afghanistan. J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2017;67(1):86-95.

Masri S, Garshick E, Hart J, Bouhamra W, Koutrakis P. Use of Visual Range Measurements to Predict PM2.5 Exposures in Southwest Asia and Afghanistan. J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2017;67(1):75-85.

More Information