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Staff Perspective: Looking Forward in 2019 and Beyond

Staff Perspective: Looking Forward in 2019 and Beyond

William Brim, Psy.D.

In 2019, the Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP) will celebrate its 13th year of providing training and education for behavioral health providers working with Service members, Veterans, and their families. We remain committed to delivering the highest quality, evidence-based programs to our target audience and improving the behavioral healthcare of our nation’s military, while also improving their access to care. While we are not seeing the massive deployments of the last decade and a half and the resulting large numbers of military members struggling with the psychological effects of war, we are seeing the almost continual deployment of military members to locations all over the world and the increased utilization of behavioral health providers embedded in line units supporting wellness and readiness. We plan to continue several keystone programs this year and also look over the horizon for ways that CDP can support behavioral health providers in their work with military members and Veterans. Let’s take a quick look at what is planned.

We will continue to directly support the training of new psychologists and social workers entering active duty in the Services through the 10 Military Internship Behavioral Health Psychologists embedded at each military internship site and through continued development of training and resources on the Military Training Resource Library. In addition, we will conduct over 20 EBP workshops for military treatment facilities around the globe (including Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy and CBT workshops for Insomnia, Depression, Chronic Pain and Suicidality) and are considering the addition of other EBPs. Once again, we will host the week-long Summer Institute program for graduate students interested in a career in active duty behavioral health.

We will also continue to support the training and education of civilian providers working with Service members, Veterans and their families through programs like the STAR Behavioral Health Providers (SBHP) program, our collaboration with Purdue and the Military Family Research Institute. The SBHP has trained over 10,000 providers across nine states in military culture, treatment considerations for working with military members and evidence-based psychotherapies for PTSD, Insomnia, Depression and Suicidality. 

We will be expanding the utilization of our innovative Second Life training platforms. This immersive tool has shown great promise as a platform for dissemination of live training, but also provides an always available learning center through our Operation AVATAR and the “Snoozeum” experiences. These tools allow behavioral health providers to gain useful information and experience in PTSD and sleep disorders in order to better meet the needs of their clients. We hope to offer home study continuing education for these platforms later this year. 

Our online training and education resources will expand this year as we offer our monthly CDP Presents webinar series with CDP faculty and guest presenters giving updates on the latest issues and treatments for Service members, Veterans and their families. CDP Presents this year will again include the Forces for Health Warrior Wednesday series in May and we have plans for deeper dives on some topical areas such as sleep disorders in April, PTSD awareness in June and Suicide Prevention in September. During these months look for our weekly blog to address a range of issues related to the topic and culminate with the monthly webinar on the topic.

We have been working hard with experts in the field and our subject matter experts to develop more content related to military families and children. This last year we first offered the Couples Webinar Series that comprises a series of two-hour online programs on the assessment and treatment of military couples, on dealing with infidelity and on interpersonal violence. The CWS will continue to be offered this year. We are developing new content with experts on military school-age children that will be offered this year as we continue to look at the intergenerational impact of war on Service member families.

CDP will continue to build out our research portfolio, focusing on research related to the implementation and dissemination of evidence based psychotherapies. CDP is working in collaboration with the Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research, STRONGSTAR and other partners on a multi-year research project called TACTICS, which examines the effects of tailored implementation strategies to improve the use of Prolonged Exposure in the participating Military Treatment Facilities. We recently completed the first year of this innovative research project. Our faculty have been active in presenting at conferences and preparing manuscripts for publication, which will continue into the next year.

Two years ago, CDP funded a RAND study to conduct an oral history of active duty behavioral health leaders and providers and military leadership to look at lessons learned about gearing up behavioral health services and training to meet increased demands associated with war and increased operational tempo. We are looking forward to the publication of that study later this year.

Finally, this year we look forward to turning to a more focused look at how CDP can support the Services as more behavioral health providers are embedded in line units and the delivery of behavioral health with this population evolves. What training are providers likely not getting from traditional graduate programs that they need in order to be most effective in the field and in garrison, embedded, or in the military treatment facility? Is more training and education needed to help the transition to more of a focus on strength-based assessment and treatment rather than on pathology? Does the focus on prevention, wellness, and operational efficiency require new or different types of training for psychologists and social workers? How can we improve the readiness and efficiency of behavioral health systems to ensure that Service members get the education, prevention services, and behavioral health interventions that they need, when and where they need them such that we improve operational readiness or at least minimize the mission impact of behavioral health problems on the unit? These are the questions we are discussing and the conversations we want to have with you all this next year.

So we are looking forward to a busy 2019. Our vision remains the same, a future in which all Service members, Veterans, and their families receive quality behavioral health care that meets their unique needs. Our mission to ensure behavioral health providers have access to the highest quality, evidence-based treatments, information, consultation, and resources continues. We look forward to hearing from you and working together to provide you the training and education tools you need in your work with Service members, Veterans and their families. We thank you for what you do and for your partnership.

The opinions in CDP Staff Perspective blogs are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Science or the Department of Defense.

William Brim, Psy.D., is the director of the Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP). He joined the CDP in 2007, initially as a deployment behavioral health psychologist at Malcolm Grow (USAF) Medical Center before moving to deputy director in 2008.

Staff Perspective: Looking Forward in 2019 and Beyond | Center for Deployment Psychology

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