The 2020 SHIELD Conference

On Feb. 28, celebrating the 29th anniversary of the end of Desert Storm, the Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine will host the 2020 Sustained Homeostatic Imbalance due to Environmental-exposure Linked to Deployment (SHIELD) Conference in the Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 


This free event, open to all Gulf War veterans, aims to inform the community about research that is being conducted regarding neuro-immune disorders including Gulf War illness. Gulf War illness, also known as chronic multisymptom illness, has a variety of symptoms that are found in veterans deployed in Desert Storm and Desert Shield. 


The event will feature keynote speakers Nancy Klimas and Kimberly Sullivan, who are both experts in environmental-exposure illnesses. In addition to the keynote speakers, there will be a veteran advocacy panel featuring retired veterans who were involved in the Gulf War. The panelists will include Retired Sergeant First Class Jimmy Arocho, Retired non-commissioned officer Bill Watts and Retired Staff Sergeant Anthony Hardie, who all have had experience with Gulf War illness and have participated in some of the research that the institute conducted.


Zena Kirby, the program manager for the Shield Conference, said she hopes that “by having a veterans perspective, we can give [people who want to learn more] a personal outlook on how it is to live with Gulf War illness and what these symptoms are and how research may be a good stepping stone to improve the quality of life [of these individuals] and eventually develop a long term solution for the entire population of veterans living with this condition.”


Towards the end of the event, there will also be a networking session to connect veterans with various organizations that provide resources on a local and national scale, such as the Miami Veteran Center, legal groups that work with veterans and a variety of other programs within NSU’s Institute for Neuro-Immune Medicine. Individuals who feel passionately about learning more about the illness and the discoveries being made in the field are also invited to attend. 

The event will also be livestreamed and available on the event’s website,, for those who are unable to attend.

Photo: T. Ashlock

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