USF Public Health awarded Army contract to train military clinicians in treatment of PTSD

Tampa, FLA (July 6, 2016) – The University of South Florida College of Public Health has been awarded a contract with the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, Department of Behavioral Health (AMEDDC&S), to train military mental health clinicians in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), an emerging evidence-based treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related conditions.

The new contract with the AMEDDC&S represents the largest training of military clinicians in the ART protocol to date.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD is a mental health problem that may develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, such as those experienced by military personnel during combat. PTSD is a common public health issue, with about one in 10 men and two in 10 women in the United States developing it.

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Kevin Kip, PhD, leads studies on Accelerated Resolution Therapy at USF.

The Army educates and trains its medical personnel at AMEDDC&S, which is based in Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. The contract with USF will provide training in ART for military psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers. A total of 80 military clinicians will be trained, 20 at a time, at Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Stewart, Ga.; and Fort Drum, N.Y.

ART was developed in 2008 by Laney Rozenzweig, a mental health practitioner who previously served as visiting assistant professor at the USF College of Nursing under the direction of Kevin Kip, PhD, Distinguished Health Professor at the USF College of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Beginning in 2010, all empirical research on ART has been conducted exclusively at USF, primarily under the direction of Dr. Kip. This has included three studies funded separately by the U.S. Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, the U.S. Army Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center, and the Chris T. Sullivan Foundation.

Based upon research evidence amassed at USF, ART was federally recognized in November 2015 as an “effective” evidence-based treatment for psychological trauma and depression.

 “The Army’s interest in ART relates to its evidence-based classification, but also the brevity of the therapy and other desirable features that may relate to treatment success,” Dr. Kip said. “The ART protocol is delivered in just one to five sessions, which is significantly shorter than conventional psychotherapies in use by the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration, including prolonged exposure therapy and cognitive processing therapy.”

The ART protocol does not require the patient to verbalize or write about past traumatic experiences, but rather to mentally relive the experience and then imagine a new positive way to remember the experience, Dr. Kip said.   “It uses an innovative process known as memory reconsolidation, which is a way in which the brain actually changes the way in which memories are stored and recalled.”

University of South Florida College of Nursing

The new U.S. Army contract with USF represents the largest training to date of military clinicians in ART, an emerging evidence-based therapy for PTSD.

An example of the basis of ART can be obtained from the recent NOVA special entitled, “Memory Hackers.”

The Army training sessions will be conducted over four day intervals, and at the conclusion of the training sessions, all clinicians will be sufficiently proficient to begin using the technique immediately.

 Previous training of military clinicians in ART has occurred at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.; Fort Belvoir, Va.; Fort Hood, Texas; and Fort Benning, Ga.

 Under the direction of Dr. Kip, multiple research studies of ART among both civilian and military populations are being conducted and designed. A recent pilot study of ART among civilians for the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain was completed with promising results, and studies for treatment of traumatized children are being pursued. In addition to seven peer-reviewed publications, ART continues to be profiled in widespread media outlets including the Daily Beast

According to Dr. Kip, a long term goal of the research program is to “amass sufficient evidence such that ART becomes widely recognized as a first-line and often preferred method of treatment of symptoms of PTSD across a range of patient populations.”

More information on the new Army training contract can be obtained by contacting Dr. Kip at kkip@health.usf.edu

-USF College of Public Health-
Established in 1984 as the first college of public health in the State of Florida, the USF College of Public Health is a recognized leader in community health, online education, maternal and child health, social marketing, and global infectious disease research. The college offers multiple online and on-campus concentrations that lead to MHA, MPH, MSPH, DrPH, and PhD degrees, as well several dual degrees, graduate certificates, and special programs.  To learn more about the college and its 1700 students who commit to passionately solve problems and create conditions that allow every person the universal right to health and well-being, visit www.publichealth.usf.edu.

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USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Biomedical Sciences Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs, and the USF Physicians Group. The University of South Florida is a Top 50 research university in total research expenditures among both public and private institutions nationwide, according to the National Science Foundation. For more information, visit www.health.usf.edu

Media Contact:
Natalie D. Preston, USF College of Public Health
(813) 974-7714, or npreston@health.usf.edu