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SAN ANTONIO (Nov. 11, 2019) – A grant from Boeing Co. will fund scholarships for 200 community mental health providers nationwide to receive low-cost training in the top treatments for military-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Boeing’s $200,000 grant supports the STRONG STAR Training Initiative at UT Health San Antonio, which aims to equip more mental health providers to provide evidence-based treatment for PTSD and in turn increase access to high-quality care. Although hundreds of thousands of military service members and veterans suffer from PTSD, many do not have providers in their local communities who are trained in the leading therapies or in how best to deliver them to combat veterans, which this program provides. The need for such providers is increasing as many service members and veterans seek care outside the military and VA systems due to provider backlogs, lack of VA or military clinics in their communities, or concerns about stigma.
“Helping veterans with PTSD gain access to evidence-based treatment is critical to their recovery and re-engagement in meaningful life,” said Katy Dondanville, Psy.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at UT Health San Antonio and director of the STRONG STAR Training Initiative. “The task of developing and maintaining the workforce of veteran-serving community mental health providers is immense and long-term. Boeing’s generous grant will help us make progress toward that goal in 2020.”
With the scholarship funding, community providers will enroll at a reduced rate in Training Initiative “Learning Communities” that will offer training and consultation over the course of a year, beginning with workshops to be held in early 2020. Providers will be able to choose from Learning Communities that offer training and support in delivering either Prolonged Exposure therapy or Cognitive Processing Therapy, the two leading evidence-based PTSD treatments.
“Our goal is to empower military veterans and their families to succeed in their next mission in life,” said Mike Lawson, senior manager, Boeing Global Engagement. “Partnering with STRONG STAR to expand local access to PTSD treatment will ensure long-term recovery and sustainability of these vital programs.”
The STRONG STAR Training Initiative began in 2017. Through this initiative, UT Health San Antonio faculty share the unparalleled expertise they have gained delivering PTSD treatment to hundreds of military personnel and veterans through clinical trials affiliated with the STRONG STAR Consortium. Besides training in the top research-supported PTSD therapies, the program includes education on how to deliver those therapies in culturally appropriate ways that enhance their appeal to and effectiveness with military service members and veterans.
The program consists of training assignments in advance of the workshops, two days of in-person training, weekly consultation by phone, an online platform of tools for advanced training, program evaluation to determine success and areas for improvement, and consultation with each provider’s organization to develop agency-specific plans for implementation and sustainability. Providers completing the Learning Community requirements are eligible for continuing education credits.
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