Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signs legislation at USF that enhances treatment options for veterans suffering from PTSD

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A long-time effort at USF to strengthen alternative treatment options for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries has gained additional support from the Florida Legislature.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation (HB 501) at the USF Office for Veteran Success, instructing the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs to partner with USF in managing the contracts of licensed providers who offer unique treatments, such as Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART).

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis traveled to USF to sign legislation enhancing treatment options for veterans with PTSD. (Photo courtesy of USF News)

“I’ve watched alternative therapies change the lives of our students and veterans,” said Larry Braue, director of the USF Office of Veteran Success. “I’ve seen the impact ART has had on our veterans. It’s appropriate this bill was signed here because USF is one of the most veteran-friendly schools in the country and we are at the tip of the spear for making things happen in honoring and serving our veterans in the State of Florida.”

Governor DeSantis speaking with USF Office of Veteran Success Director Larry Braue (left), USF System President Judy Genshaft and Danny Burgess (right), executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. (Photo courtesy of USF News)

Kevin Kip, PhD, distinguished professor in the College of Public Health and AAAS Fellow, is one of the world’s leading researchers in ART. It’s a form of psychotherapy that involves the veteran mentally reliving their past traumatic experience and then imagining a new positive way to remember it. This allows the brain to change the way in which memories are stored and recalled, an approach known as memory reconsolidation.

The 2019-2020 budget allocated $200,000 to USF for ART and other alternative treatments, enhancing Kip’s research and collaboration efforts with various veteran organizations. With substantiating evidence, he hopes to eventually see ART become a preferred method for treating symptoms of PTSD.

Other alternative treatment options listed in HB 501 are equine therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, music therapy, and service animal training therapy.

This is Governor DeSantis’s second public appearance at USF. He was on campus March 29, 2019, to announce Forward March, a new statewide initiative aimed at making resources more accessible for Florida’s 1.5 million veterans.

In addition to approving HB 501, DeSantis also signed legislation (HB 427) that designates the Honor and Remember flag as the official state emblem to serve as a visible reminder of those who sacrificed their lives for our country.

Story reprinted from USF News