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New Grant Award to Benefit War Veterans, UTSA Education in Military Health Psychology

August 20, 2013

Dr. Alan Peterson Leads National Consortium on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
 

Alan Peterson, PhD, ABPP, is a board-certified clinical health psychologist and professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the Department of Psychology at UTSA.  He was actively involved in the establishment of the Psychology PhD program at UTSA and teaches the core course in Military Health Psychology.  Dr. Peterson continues to expand his expertise and San Antonio’s leadership in national efforts to help service members and veterans struggling with the psychological wounds of war. He is a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel who deployed while on active duty in support of Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.  He is also director of the South Texas Research Organizational Network Guiding Studies on Trauma and Resilience, or STRONG STAR.

STRONG STAR is a multi-institutional and multidisciplinary research consortium led by The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Since its original funding with a $35 million grant from the Department of Defense in 2008, STRONG STAR has developed more than 20 studies focused on the detection, prevention, and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related conditions in active duty service members and recently discharged veterans. The work involves the collaboration of over 100 expert civilian, military, and VA researchers and clinicians from more than 20 institutions, with studies ongoing primarily in the South and Central Texas areas.
Now, with the opportunity to build on the expertise and infrastructure already in place with STRONG STAR, the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have announced the award of $45 million in funding to establish the STRONG STAR Consortium to Alleviate PTSD (STRONG STAR-CAP). Led by the UT Health Science Center and by the VA National Center for PTSD, this new consortium is part of a National Research Action Plan for Improving Access to Mental Health for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families outlined by President Obama during his address to the Disabled American Veterans National Convention in Orlando, Florida in August 2013. Along with the new treatment studies for PTSD and co-occurring conditions that will be part of STRONG STAR-CAP’s research portfolio will be an increased emphasis on the biology and physiology of PTSD development and treatment response. Findings are expected to inform PTSD diagnosis, prognosis, prediction of treatment response, and new or improved prevention and treatment approaches.
The recent selection for funding of the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD brings the total DoD-funding for STRONG STAR to over $100 million.  That will go a long way in helping an estimated 500,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who are believed to be at risk for PTSD and related conditions. It also will enhance the education and training of psychology PhD students at UTSA, who will have the opportunity to collaborate in various military health psychology research projects and interact with many of the nation’s top research investigators.  For more information about STRONG STAR-CAP, visit www.strongstar.org.
 

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