U.S. service members face challenging health issues in the areas of traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress and mental wellbeing. HJF is working to address the neurological and psychological wounds they face.
Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine
To improve traumatic brain injury (TBI) treatment and transform brain injury research, the U.S. Congress established the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (CNRM) in 2008. The center’s collaborative research efforts emphasize aspects of TBI that have high relevance to military populations.
CNRM works with the Unformed Services University of the Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Their mission: to build an interdisciplinary collaboration to catalyze TBI research.
The center focuses on directed studies to accomplish multiple goals. Six programs were created to synthesize progress:
Center for Deployment Psychology
The Center for Deployment Psychology, also part of USU, coordinates activities across a network of training sites at 11 military medical centers nationwide and prepares health care professionals to better meet the deployment-related emotional and psychological needs of military personnel and their families who undergo increased stress and psychological health challenges during deployment.
The center trains health care professionals to offer high-quality, culturally sensitive, evidence-based behavioral health services to military personnel, veterans and their families. They do this through live presentations, online learning resources and ongoing consultations on topics such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal behavior and sleep problems.
A longitudinal study of soldiers recruited during the Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Service members (Army STARRS) is under way at USU, with support from HJF. The study builds on the work of Army STARRS, the largest research project designed to investigate risk factors and protective factors for suicide, suicide-related behavior, and other related mental and behavioral health issues.
It is the largest and most comprehensive research study of mental health risk and resilience ever conducted among Army personnel.
Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress
The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress was created to address Department of Defense concerns about the psychological effects and health consequences resulting from the impact of traumatic events. The center opened its doors on USU’s Bethesda, Maryland, campus in 1987 with its founding director Robert J. Ursano, M.D., then chair of the University’s Department of Psychiatry.
Aiming to mitigate the damaging effects of trauma resulting from exposure to natural and man-made disasters, including weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and bioterrorism, the center has brought scholarly and research-oriented problem solving to the mental and behavioral health problems of service members and the public alike.
One such study is the National Military Bereavement Study, which examines the impact of a U.S. service member’s death on surviving family members. This is the first large scientific study of its kind and will provide a scientific basis to inform policies affecting survivor care.
Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, Intrepid Spirit
HJF supports the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune’s Intrepid Spirit Concussion Recovery Center. The center, which opened in 2013, provides integrated, holistic, interdisciplinary care for service members who have sustained a concussion or TBI or suffer from PTSD.
The interdisciplinary services include:
- primary care
- occupational therapy
- behavioral health
- spiritual counseling
- speech and physical therapy
- case management
The center also teams with Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center to improve education and care coordination after a TBI. HJF provides clinical research support for the hospital’s National Intrepid Center of Excellence.
Millennium Cohort Study
The Millennium Cohort Study began in 2001 with an unprecedented goal: survey 140,000 service members for 21 years to examine their physical and psychological well-being in relation to their military experiences.
The Naval Health Research Center’s Military Population Health Directorate launched the study to determine whether deployment-related exposures affected service members’ health when they returned from military operations. Because of the program’s success, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs approved an extension of the study to 67 years, making it not only the largest study in military history, but also the longest.