In addition to its key role in education and knowledge dissemination for the National Center, the Dissemination and Training Division conducts research on clinical needs, treatment effectiveness, and means of improving accessibility and quality of VA care.
Collaboration is under way on two trials of Acceptance and Commitment (ACT) therapy, one for combat-related distress and another for PTSD. Work continues on a VA-funded randomized trial of psychotherapy for co-occurring substance use disorders and PTSD. As sleep disturbance is one of the foremost clinical complaints of Veterans with PTSD, Division staff are conducting a trial testing whether adding insomnia management to smoking cessation treatment improves quit rates among smokers with PTSD. A DoD-funded study will test whether teaching relaxation skills improves OEF/OIF Veterans' driving behavior.
Aiming to encourage the use of telemedicine technologies in order to expand access to PTSD care, Division researchers are collaborating with colleagues in the Pacific Islands Division on two clinical trials of psychotherapy delivered via video teleconferencing and continue work on two trials of telephone case management for Veterans with PTSD.
Division investigators are collaborating with staff at the Women's Health Sciences Division to determine the treatment needs and utilization of women exposed to military sexual trauma (MST) and the systems of care in which they are screened and detected. Key findings on MST among Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are shared with relevant policymakers, and additional analyses are ongoing.
Upcoming projects within the Division include studies that examine barriers to cannabis treatment among Veterans with PTSD and patient preferences for gender-specific mental health care.
The randomized trial of Web-based training of VA clinicians in cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy skills remained a priority. An ongoing program evaluation assesses the effects of the VA Prolonged Exposure Dissemination initiative on participating clinicians.
Further analyses are being conducted in a study of the diagnostic utility of the PTSD Checklist (PCL). A recently funded study will help develop a tool for identifying Veterans likely to have chronic mental health needs following deployment. Research on moral injury among combat Veterans was recently completed.