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Military psychology news

Stay current with the latest news from the world of military psychology

By Diane Elmore and Heather O'Beirne Kelly

The APA is committed to supporting military service members, veterans and their families through training and workforce development, federal advocacy, information dissemination initiatives and key collaborations. The following highlights some of APA’s recent initiatives related to service members, veterans and their families.

University of Utah/APA Suicide Prevention Best Practices Summit

Dr. M. David Rudd, Heather O’Beirne Kelly, Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Salvatore “Sal” Giunta, Dr. Melba J.T. Vasquez and Dr. Diane Elmore at a reception and dinner honoring GiuntaOn Sept. 12-14, 2011, APA co-hosted a series of events focused on military and veterans suicide prevention with M. David Rudd, PhD, ABPP, and the University of Utah’s National Center for Veterans Studies. These events included a working group meeting that brought together a select group of national experts and representatives from the civilian sector, the DoD and VA, and the veterans community to identify “best practices” for the clinical management of suicide risk with military service members and veterans. Among the invited experts were several members of the military psychology community, including COL Bruce Crow, PsyD; LTC Jay Earles, PsyD, ABPP; Armando Estrada, PhD; Gregory Gahm, PhD; COL James Griffith, PhD; Marjan Holloway, PhD; COL (Ret) Larry James, PhD, ABPP; and Mark Reger, PhD. Attendees began the process of developing recommendations that will be useful to all health care systems that serve military service members and veterans, including community-based mental health providers. A second meeting of the working group will be held in 2012. Additional summit events included a dinner honoring Salvatore Giunta, the first living medal of honor recipient since the Vietnam War; a members-only roundtable in the House of Representatives Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Subcommittee on Health; and a briefing in the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs for Capitol Hill staff, government officials and the general public. Experts identify the best support practices for suicide prevention among service members and veterans.

Meeting with Dr. Robin Staffin on research issues

Dr. Diane Elmore and Dr. Robin Staffin, the DoD Director for Basic Research in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and EngineeringOn Nov. 15, 2011, APA joined colleagues from the broader scientific community to discuss DoD research issues with Dr. Robin Staffin, the DoD Director for Basic Research in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. Dr. Staffin has responsibility for oversight of all basic research activities throughout DoD, and previously served as Associate Director of Science and Director for High Energy Physics at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Development in DOE's Office of Defense Programs. Of particular concern to APA were support for behavioral science within the overall DoD 6.1 research account and collaboration with other federal agencies (e.g., National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health) in areas such as cognitive neuroscience and modeling.

Meeting with Senator Reed’s staff on military and veteran issues

On Dec. 5, 2011, APA met with Senator Jack Reed’s (D-RI) legislative staff for health issues to discuss ways to support research and services on behalf of military personnel, veterans and their families. The senator, a USMA graduate and former U.S. Army Ranger who serves on the Armed Services Committee as well as both Appropriations Subcommittees responsible for funding the DoD and the VA, continues to champion support for these populations and works with staff across the APA directorates to better integrate DoD and VA research, education and training.

Joining Forces Initiative

First Lady Michelle Obama On Jan. 9-10, 2012, APA participated in a White House Joining Forces event that focused on meeting the neurological and psychological needs of service members, veterans and their families. Joining Forces is a national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to support service members and their families. This event included representatives from nearly 30 leading health professions and related organizations. Admiral James Winnefeld, Jr., Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Mary, hosted an opening reception on January 9 at their home on Joint Base Myer — Henderson Hall. On January 10, the group toured the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) on the campus of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland and received briefings from leaders of several other key DoD centers that assist returning service members. The White House and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the next portion of the meeting, which focused on how the health care community can support the needs of service members, veterans and their families related to traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental wounds of war. Diane Elmore, PhD, MPH, represented APA at the event and highlighted psychology’s strong history of service in this area and ongoing commitment to the Joining Forces initiative. APA joins forces with the White House and other health professions.

Mental health training for faith-based providers

On Dec. 12, 2011, APA collaborated with Representative Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY), Chair of the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, to host a workshop for faith-based providers on the mental health needs of military service members, veterans and their families. Workshop presenters included APA members M. David Rudd, PhD, ABPP, University of Utah; Judy Hayman, PhD, VA; Caitlin Thompson, PhD, VA; and George Ake III, PhD, Duke University Medical Center. Additional presenters included Jason Hansman, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and Tim Bejian, Retired Air National Guard Chaplain. Panelists discussed some of the signature mental wounds of war; warning signs and strategies for suicide prevention; unique stressors facing military children and families; local, state and national resources available to service members, veterans and their families; and opportunities for collaboration between mental health providers and the faith-based community. APA collaborates with Rep. Buerkle for military and veteran mental health workshop.