UT Health San Antonio initiative will train mental health providers in leading PTSD therapies

SAN ANTONIO (June 22, 2017) ― 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, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, also known as 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 at no cost to eligible providers and organizations 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.

Providers may be able to earn continuing education credits by participating in the training initiative.

Katy Dondanville, Psy.D., ABPP, and Brooke Fina, LCSW, BCD, assistant professors of psychiatry in the School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio, 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, based at UT Health San Antonio, 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 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 Woodruff 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.

To inquire about the STRONG STAR Training Initiative, email training@strongstar.org

Online registration is available at www.strongstartraining.org

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

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, with missions of teaching, research and healing, is one of the country’s leading health sciences universities and is now called/doing business as UT Health San Antonio™. UT Health San Antonio’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 33,000 alumni who are advancing their fields throughout the world. With four campuses in San Antonio and Laredo, UT Health San Antonio has a FY 2017 revenue operating budget of $806.6 million and is the primary driver of its community’s $37 billion biomedical and health care industry. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.

STRONG STAR, or the South Texas Research Organizational Network Guiding Studies on Trauma and Resilience, is a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research consortium funded by the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and led by UT Health San Antonio. STRONG STAR aims to develop and evaluate the most effective early interventions possible for the detection, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of combat post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions in active duty military personnel and recently discharged veterans so they can maintain or resume full, productive lives. To learn more visit www.strongstar.org.

The Texas Veterans + Family Alliance Program of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is dedicated to improving the quality of life of Texas veterans and their families by supporting communities across the state to expand the availability of, increase access to, and enhance delivery of mental health treatment and services. To learn more, visit: hhs.texas.gov

The Bob Woodruff Foundation was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s veterans. To date, BWF has invested more than $42 million to Find, Fund and Shape™ programs that have empowered more than 2.5 million impacted veterans, service members and their families. To learn more, visit: bobwoodrufffoundation.org 

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