Top of Page
Skip main navigation

2020 SHIELD Conference Wrap-up


The Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine at Nova Southeastern University hosted the 2020 Sustained Homeostatic Imbalance due to Environmental-exposure Linked to Deployment (SHIELD) Conference on Friday, February 28, 2020. Gulf War Veterans had the opportunity to:

  • Learn about Gulf War illness
  • Connect with fellow Gulf War Veterans
  • Discover the life-changing research that is helping Veterans
  • Listen to a special guest panel of Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield patient advocates

For those who could not attend, the event was livestreamed and the videos can be viewed here. The slides from each presentation can be viewed here: 

Researcher Discussion

Veterans' Panel 

Clinicians' Panel





The webcast recordings can be found here.






Keynote Speakers

Nancy Klimas, M.D., is Director of the Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine's Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine and Professor and Chair of the Department of Clinical Immunology at Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is also Director of Clinical Immunology Research at the Miami VAMC and directs the Gulf War Illness and ME/CFS clinical and research program at the Miami VA. She is Professor Emerita, University of Miami School of Medicine. She has achieved international recognition for her research and clinical efforts in multi-symptom disorders, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), Gulf War illness (GWI) and fibromyalgia. She is a member of the VA Research Advisory Committee for GWI. She is currently funded by the VA, DoD and NIH to study these complex disorders using a systems biology approach with a strong focus on illness models that lead to therapeutic targets and clinical trials.


Kimberly Sullivan, Ph.D. is a behavioral neuroscientist trained in behavioral neurotoxicology. She is currently a Research Assistant Professor of Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health. She is the former Associate Scientific Director for the VA Research Advisory Committee (RAC) on Gulf War Veteran's Illnesses. Dr. Sullivan has been consistently funded to study the pathophysiology of toxicant-induced chronic disorders including Gulf War Illness (GWI). She is also the site PI on multiple treatment trials in Veterans with GWI. She has also participated in the NIH common data elements working groups for ME/CFS research recommendations. Dr. Sullivan has worked in the field of behavioral neurotoxicology since the mid-1990s and has directed field studies in neurotoxicology (i.e., pesticides, methylmercury), neurobehavioral outcomes and the effects of physical stressors and genetic predisposition to chronic medical conditions and multi-symptom disorders.


Veteran Advocacy Panel

SFC(R) Jimmy Arocho

Jimmy Arocho has served on Nova Southeastern University Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine's Gulf War Illness Consortium's executive committee for the past three years, and is an enthusiastic asset to our research program. He speaks nationally on the research program, assists in recruitment, and advocates within the regional VA, as well as, national Veterans’ organizations promoting the research program. As a retired master sergeant, he is a highly effective communicator, and has been an integral member of research leadership for the last three years.


William "Bill" A. Watts
Bill Watts is a Gulf War Combat Veteran who deployed with the 4th Battalion, 5thAir Defense Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division, during the Gulf War and liberation of Kuwait. He lives in Doral, Florida, and serves on several governmental committees and research panels throughout the country to bring awareness to Gulf War Illness and the Veterans who served. Mr. Watts received numerous awards during his military service and after service received the Congressional Veteran Commendation, Florida State Senate Veteran’s Champion Award and the City of Doral Certificate of Recognition just to name a few of his achievements. He was appointed by the Mayor and City Council to serve on the City of Doral’s Military Advisory Committee. Mr. Watts is the Director of Operations for Fishing with America’s Finest, a non-profit group that works with Veterans suffering from PTSD, physical, or other mental disabilities using Piscatorial Therapy. He participates and advises in Research performed by the Miami VA Medical Center and Nova Southeastern University to improve the health of Gulf War Veterans and was chosen to be a Military Consumer Reviewer for the Washington, DC, Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP).
Anthony Hardie
Anthony Hardie is the author of 91outcomes, a Gulf War health and news website and serves as the National Board Chair & Director of Veterans for Common Sense (VCS). He leads VCS’s policy formulation and public advocacy efforts and has served with the treatment-focused U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) on Gulf War Illness (GWIRP), as a consumer reviewer with the program’s managing Programmatic Panel since the program’s creation in 2006, and as its Chair since 2015. Mr. Hardie previously served from 2006 to 2013 on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses (RAC). Additionally, he served on the VA’s Gulf War Steering Committee from its inception in 2010 until it concluded its work in 2012 to develop a strategic plan for VA for Gulf War illness research.

David Patterson


David Patterson is an 18-year US Air Force veteran, deploying to many different areas in the world as a Flight, Emergency, and ICU nurse. Since retiring from the Military, David has devoted many years in the Specialty Pharmacy market, dedicating his time to improving healthcare outcomes for both military and civilian patients with complex diseases, thus improving quality of life. David currently works as the Clinic Manager for the Neurology Clinic and Clinical Trials Division of the Roskamp Institute, a non-profit biomedical research facility specializing neurological research including Alzheimer's Disease, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Gulf War illness.





Please contact for more information.


Return to top of page