By Debbie Gregory.
In 2012, President Obama issued an executive order that demanded federal agencies work together in order to provide better mental health services to veterans, service members and their families. The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have found a way to do it, and they presented their plan this month.
The two departments will join with several universities to create the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD (CAP) and develop the most effective ways to diagnose, treat and rehabilitate those who suffer from acute PTSD. CAP is also looking at how to prevent chronic PTSD and mild TBI.
While much of the research will be conducted in Virginia, the program to address PTSD will be centered mainly in Texas. The VA and the DOD is working with the University of Texas Health Science Center – San Antonio, San Antonio Military Medical Center and the Boston VA Medical Center to develop those new diagnosis and treatment plans. After California and Florida, Texas is the state with the next largest Veteran population.
The Virginia Commonwealth University, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the Richmond VA Medical Center will collaborate as the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium, and develop research that will hopefully improve diagnosis and treatment options for TBI. The group will also study the links between mild TBI and neurodegenerative disease. The pair of research teams in Virginia and Texas will cost $107 million over five years.
“VA is proud to join with its partners in the federal government and the academic community to support the President’s vision, and invest in research that could lead to innovative, new treatments for TBI and PTSD,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We must do all we can to deliver the high-quality care our Service members and Veterans have earned and deserve.”