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PTSD: National Center for PTSD


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The First 25 Years: Key Milestones


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The First 25 Years: Key Milestones

The National Center timeline shows the depth and breadth of the work accomplished over its first twenty-five years from 1989 to 2014.


  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs William Derwinski dedicates National Center for PTSD.
  • At its first meeting, Center launches development of the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS).
  • First issues of PTSD Research Quarterly and NCP Clinical Newsletter are published by the Center.
  • Center participates in first VA/DoD training conference to prepare for casualties from Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
  • PILOTS (Published International Literature on Traumatic Stress) database is made publicly available by the Center; it provides a comprehensive cross-disciplinary index to all published research on trauma.
  • Behavioral Science Division completes data collection for first VA Cooperative Study on PTSD (#344); it examines physiological reactions to trauma cues.
  • The Women's Health Sciences Division and the Pacific Islands Division are created.
  • The Scientific Institute on Ethnocultural Aspects of PTSD is cosponsored by the Center and National Institute of Mental Health.
  • National training conference on African-American Veterans and PTSD is cosponsored by the Center and Readjustment Counseling Service (RCS).
  • Center launches its website to disseminate information about PTSD to researchers, clinicians, Veterans, and the general public.
  • Consensus Conference on PTSD Assessment is cosponsored by the Center and National Institute of Mental Health.
  • Congressionally-mandated study of PTSD in Native American and Asian-American Vietnam Veterans is completed by the Center; results are presented to Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
  • Women's Health Sciences Division completes national survey of women Veterans' perceptions of VA health care.
  • VA Cooperative Study #420 is launched, the largest PTSD psychotherapy study ever conducted.
  • Education Division completes VA Disaster Mental Health Manual.
  • National Disaster Mental Health Training Series is launched, in collaboration with RCS.
  • Center supports VA Headquarters in coordinating VA PTSD/Primary Care Summit.
  • First practice guideline for PTSD is published by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, with contributions from the Center.
  • Center develops and disseminates resources in response to the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
  • Cooperative Study #494, the first study of PTSD treatment for female Veterans, is launched.
  • Congressionally-mandated Military Sexual Trauma project is launched by the Center.
  • Usage of the Center's website more than doubles, as both professionals and laypersons seek information on disaster mental health following 9/11 attacks.
  • Interagency summit on Early Intervention Following Mass Casualties is led by the Center.
  • The Iraq War Clinician Guide is released by the Center to prepare VA and DoD to serve personnel returning from Iraq.
  • Research on the use of telehealth to care for Veterans in remote locations is initiated by the Center.
  • Center co-leads development of the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Post-Traumatic Stress.
  • Cooperative Study #504 on the effectiveness of risperidone for PTSD is launched.
  • Center completes Psychological First Aid, a manual that provides evidence-based guidance for first responders, and disseminates it online to help responders to Hurricane Katrina.
  • PTSD 101, a comprehensive online PTSD training curriculum, is launched.
  • Center leads VA's national training initiative on Cognitive Processing Therapy.
  • Findings from Cooperative Study #494 are published; they show that Prolonged Exposure is effective for female Veterans with PTSD.
  • Center leads VA's national training initiative on Prolonged Exposure.
  • Clinician's Trauma Update - Online (CTU-Online), a bimonthly electronic research newsletter, begins publication by the Center.
  • The PTSD Mentoring Program, started by the Center, supports VA PTSD program administrators and facilitates best practices in PTSD care for Veterans.
  • Center and DoD collaborate on STRONG STAR Multidisciplinary Research Consortium, aimed at developing effective interventions to prevent and treat combat-related PTSD in active-duty military personnel.
  • The first online toolkit is made available by the Center for nonclinical professionals who come in contact with Veterans and other trauma survivors.
  • Cooperative Study #566 is funded; it supports long-term follow-up of a cohort of Iraq War Veterans initially assessed prior to their first deployment.
  • Congress designates June 27 as PTSD Awareness Day (S. Res. 455) and Center launches first annual outreach campaign.
  • Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR), an intervention for post-disaster survivors, is published by the Center in collaboration with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
  • Center contributes to the revised VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Post-Traumatic Stress..
  • The VA PTSD Consultation Program is established to advise VA staff on PTSD and promote the use of evidence-based practice.
  • PTSD Coach, VA's first mobile phone app is released by the Center and DoD's National Center for Telehealth & Technology.
  • AboutFace a website offering videos of Veterans' stories of PTSD and how treatment turned their lives around, is launched by the Center.
  • Findings from Cooperative Study #504 are published; they show that risperidone is not effective for treatment-resistant PTSD, leading to a revision of the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Post-Traumatic Stress.
  • PTSD Coach Online, an expanded desktop version of the popular app, is made available by the Center.
  • The PE Coach, the first treatment companion app, is released by the Center and DoD's National Center for Telehealth & Technology.
  • DSM-5 versions of the CAPS and the PTSD Checklist are released by the Center.
  • Center assists in VA's response to the Sandy Hook school shooting by providing training and consultation to local providers.
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center and the National Center for PTSD receive the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD Award, a 5-year, $45 million research initiative funded by VA and DoD to improve understanding and treatment of PTSD.
  • What is PTSD?, the Center's first whiteboard video, debuts on YouTube.
  • VA Cooperative Study #591, a 17-site trial to compare the effectiveness of Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy for Veterans, is launched.
  • Center receives Congressional funding to expand the PTSD Consultation Program to non-VA providers and to establish the National PTSD Brain Bank, the first brain tissue repository to advance PTSD research.
Date this content was last updated is at the bottom of the page.

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Also see: VA Mental Health