USF Nursing gets $2.1M grant for RESTORE LIVES Center

Project will study best ways to help soldiers of Iraq and Afghanistan overcome psychological trauma and other emotional health problems

Tampa, FL (Sept. 17, 2010) – Helping service members and veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan heal from symptoms of combat exposure, including post traumatic stress and mild traumatic brain injury, will be the focus of a $2.1-million federal grant to the University of South Florida College of Nursing. The project is part of the Research to Improve Emotional Health and Quality of Life among Service Members with Disabilities (RESTORE LIVES) Center, which was established to develop and evaluate treatments to complement services to the military provided by the VA Healthcare System, TRICARE, and the conventional health care system.

“The research conducted through the RESTORE LIVES Center is unique in the nation and is critical as we now have the largest number of combat veterans re-entering mainstream America since the Vietnam era” said Dianne Morrison-Beedy PhD, RN, WHNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP, FAAN, Dean of the USF College of Nursing and Senior Associate Vice President of USF Health. “The cutting-edge therapies tested are designed to literally restore the lives of our honored soldiers and veterans.”

The RESTORE LIVES Center will conduct five studies investigating state-of-the art therapies, including the promising Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART). The ART method is intended to help clients bring problems to a quick and effective resolution. The client uses back-and-forth eye movements, which integrate activities in the left and right sides of the brain, as their thoughts are focused by the psychological therapist. The innovative intervention employs a technique known as Voluntary Memory/Image Replacement, in which the client can replace a negative memory with a positive memory of their choice, or reinterpret the memory. Studies with non-veterans have shown that clients resolved memories of painful or disturbing experiences in just one or two therapy sessions, and the RESTORE LIVES researchers will evaluate whether veterans experience this same level of benefit.

“With this research funding, we aim to evaluate and ultimately provide evidence for novel, flexible, and rapid methods to treat emotional problems and related symptoms that arise from serving in combat operations,” said principal investigator Kevin Kip, PhD, associate professor and executive director of the College of Nursing Research Center.

Based at the USF College of Nursing, the RESTORE LIVES Center is a collaborative project with the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and includes national participation by current and former members of the Armed Forces, clinical psychologists, nurse scientists, educators and research support personnel. The grant was awarded and will be administered by the U.S. Army Medical Research & Materiel Command and the Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center at Fort Detrick, MD.

The project is part of part USF’s initative to help reintegrate veterans into the community. The USF Office of Veterans Affairs assists more than 1,000 student-veterans enrolled in academic programs at USF.

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