University of South Florida

USF Nursing presents research on innovative therapy to USSOCOM Care Coalition
More than 250 business, organization and community leaders, healthcare providers, and special operations leadership attended the annual United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Care Coalition Conference May 29 through June 1 at  MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL,  to discuss the latest information, issues, and initiatives for Special Operations Forces Wounded Warriors and their families. Representing the University of South Florida College of Nursing at the event is Carrie Elk, PhD, LMHC, CTE, assistant professor and military liaison. Dr. Elk was invited to present at the conference as an expert and researcher in treating in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

After an introduction by U.S. Special Operations Commander Adm. William McRaven, Dr. Elk helped kick off the conference, speaking on the topics of post traumatic stress (PTS) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as about USF College of Nursing research testing the effects of Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) to treat emotional problems and related symptoms that arise from serving in combat operations.

Carrie Elk, College of Nursing

Dr. Carrie Elk

ART is a revolutionary intervention being tested in one of the five sub-studies of the College’s Research to Rehabilitate/Restore the Lives of Veterans, Service Members and their Families grant funded by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.  Dr. Elk is co-principal investigator of the ART study.

An active duty senior special operations operator flew in to Tampa to speak about the treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder being studied at the USF  College of Nursing. He provided testimony that he had experienced sleep dysfunction from 10 years of combat, but that after only one session of ART in Dr. Elk’s private practice  he was able to sleep unmedicated, according to an article on

USSOCOM Care Coalition provides special operations warriors and their families a model advocacy program  to enhance their quality of life and increase special operations readiness.

U.S. Special Operations Commander Adm. William McRaven said in an article on, the Care Coalition is “my top priority … because at the end of the day, you can’t get anything done in this command unless you take care of the warriors and families… As we look at the pressure on the force, how do we preserve the force?” he asked. “Care Coalition is a key part of that.”

Through the Center for Education and Research to Rehabilitate and Restore the Lives of Veterans, Service Members and their Families or Restore Lives Center, USF College of Nursing faculty develop life enhancing treatments through nursing research, and educate nurses with the knowledge and skills specific to the needs of the military, veterans and their families. The ART study is an example of type of research that the USF College of Nursing is developing to help  honored service members and veterans.

Mr. Kevin McDonnell, Col. (ret) US Army, Director of the USSOCOM Care Coalition, visited the University of South Florida College of Nursing on Feb. 13, 2012 to discuss ways in which the College of Nursing could support the mission of the Care Coalition in serving military members. The primary focus of this conversation was on Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART).

Carrie Elk, College of Nursing, USSOCOM social

L to R: Jay Redman, former special operator, Purple Heart recipient, and president and founder of Wounded Wear; Dr. Carrie Elk, assistant professor and USF College of Nursing military liaison; Admiral William McRaven, commander of USSOCOM; MSgt. Chris “Mack” MacKenzie, USSOCOM Purple Heart recipient and superintendent of Community Outreach Care Coalition

As Military Liason, Dr. Elk represents the USF College of Nursing in the military community locally, regionally and nationally, while encouraging potential education, service and research collaborations. She has been invited to conduct presentations for MacDill service members as an expert and researcher in treating in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Dr. Elk’s recent presentations have included James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital (June 1),  to 450  service members at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa (June 3), and  Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas (week of June 4).

USF has a long history of supporting the nation’s service members, veterans and their families with workforce issues, innovative educational programs and out-of-the-box nursing research conducted by leading  faculty. On November 13, 2012, the USF College of Nursing Restore Lives Center will host, JOINING FORCES TO RESTORE LIVES: Nursing Education and Research in Veterans Healththe first national conference where the top nurse educators and scientists will  focus on nursing education and research designed to meet the needs of veterans, service members and their families. This conference is part of USF’s commitment to support the Joining Forces campaign as a national nursing leader

Full story, McRaven pledges to help troops, families deal with stresson

 Story by Ashlea Hudak, USF College of Nursing Communications

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