Initiative to train providers in top PTSD therapies

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a major condition affecting the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of post-9/11 combat veterans. To meet this unmet need for PTSD treatment, UT Health San Antonio has launched an initiative to increase the number of community clinicians qualified to provide the leading therapies.

The STRONG STAR Training Initiative will train mental health professionals in two evidence-based treatments, Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy.

The initial phase of the program, the STRONG STAR Training Initiative – Texas, will provide workshops in seven cities around Texas over the next several months.

In 2018, the program will expand nationally, with dates and locations of workshops in various cities around the United States to be announced in fall 2017.

Providers enrolled in the STRONG STAR Training Initiative will participate in learning collaboratives that include organizational consultation, basic and advanced training in Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy, and ongoing expert consultation for sustaining the program. The providers also will receive education to increase their understanding of military culture.

Katy Dondanville, Psy.D., ABPP, and Brooke Fina, LCSW, BCD, assistant professors of psychiatry in the School of Medicine, will direct the STRONG STAR Training Initiative, with Dr. Dondanville serving as program director and Fina as training director. They will share the expertise and insight that they have gained from involvement in the STRONG STAR Consortium’s seminal research studies on PTSD and related conditions in active-duty military personnel and post-9/11 veterans.

STRONG STAR is a federally funded network of national experts seeking the best ways to treat behavioral health problems impacting post-9/11 service members and veterans.

“The STRONG STAR Training Initiative addresses a real need in our communities, where there simply are not enough therapists trained in the leading treatments for PTSD,” Dr. Dondanville said. “Veterans will benefit from local access to evidence-based therapies that will help them to maintain or resume healthy, productive lives.”

In Texas, the Training Initiative is made possible by a grant from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, via its Texas Veterans + Family Alliance Program. The grant will fund development of expert training for 200 veteran-serving mental health providers across the state in the two evidence-based PTSD therapies.  Each provider selected for training will commit to treating at least five veterans, meaning at least 1,000 veterans in Texas will benefit.

An additional grant from the Bob Woodward Foundation supports the Texas program and makes possible the STRONG STAR Training Initiative’s national expansion.  The national effort in 2018 will provide training for 200 mental health providers. Each provider will commit to treat at least five veterans, benefiting at least 1,000 veterans.

Read the Texas Public Radio story

To inquire about the STRONG STAR Training Initiative, email

Online registration is available at

Dates and locations for the Texas workshops in 2017 are as follows:

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