MIRECC / CoE
Newsletter | Spring 2021 | South Central MIRECC
Highlights from Our Anchor Sites
Our affiliates in Houston, Little Rock, New Orleans, and VISN 17 work hard to promote mental health education, research, and treatment locally and nationally. Here are some highlights of their accomplishments over the past three months.
- Dr. Julianna Hogan Co-Leads webSTAIR Training Effort
A nationwide training effort is underway to provide Veteran and clinician access to webSTAIR, a web-based version of Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Regulation (STAIR). The webSTAIR program was developed with support from the VA Office of Rural Health (ORH) through an Enterprise-Wide Initiative (EWI) in partnership with the National Center for PTSD. The overall goal of webSTAIR is to improve functioning and quality of life among Veterans who have experienced trauma. Thus far, webSTAIR has offered increased access to care to rural Veterans, with a particular focus on engaging women Veterans with military sexual trauma. This year’s training effort is being led by Drs. Marylene Cloitre (webSTAIR Program Executive Director) and Julianna Hogan (webSTAIR Program Director of Training).
- Dr. Angelic Chaison Selected for SC MIRECC Clinical Scholars Program
Dr. Chaison, a psychologist in primary care-mental health integration (PC-MHI) at the Michael E. DeBakey VAMC, has been selected as a SC MIRECC Clinical Scholar for 2021-2022. She brings a wealth of experience with interprofessional training and active involvement in clinical research trials in different clinical settings. She will be working with Drs. Lilian Dindo and Derrecka Boykin on their research studies providing one-day acceptance and commitment therapy workshops to Veterans in rural communities and with polytrauma. They are thrilled to collaborate with her on multiple projects on scientific products.
- Dr. Henry Heisey Selected for American Neuropsychiatric Young Investigator Award
Dr. Heisey, an SC MIRECC BEST Fellow and second-year psychiatry resident, submitted an abstract to the American Neuropsychiatric Association annual meeting, which was competitively chosen for a platform presentation. In addition, he was chosen for an American Neuropsychiatric Young Investigator Award. Only two of these awards are given, based on the recipient's abstract quality and the candidate’s perceived ability to contribute to the field. Dr. Heisey is receiving supervision and mentoring from Dr. Mark Kunik.
Heisey HD, Kunik ME, Paudyal A, Villareal DT (2021, March). Impact of body composition on NIH toolbox cognition battery scores among community dwelling, older adults with obesity. Platform presentation at at the American Neuropsychiatric Association Annual Meeting (Only 6 clinical and 6 research abstracts were accepted).
- Dr. Jeffrey Pyne Awarded HSR&D Grant for COVID-19 Vaccination Acceptance Intervention
Dr. Jeffrey Pyne and colleagues were awarded the HSR&D grant, "Developing and Testing a COVID-19 Vaccination Acceptance Intervention" (Multiple PIs: Drs. Karen Seal, [corresponding], Jen Manuel, and Jeffrey Pyne). Phase one is approved for funding and is a six-month preparatory to research start-up from April through September 2021. Phase two will be a two-year cluster randomized intervention trial across VISNs 16 and 21. Local co-investigators include Drs. Michael Cucciare, Brandon Griffin, and Marie Mesidor. Ms. Ijeoma Azih will be the local project coordinator for phase one. The phase two protocol will be submitted in June.
- Dr. Brandon Griffin Published COVID-19 Article in Journal of Psychiatric Research
Dr. Griffin was co-author on a recent publication in the Journal of Psychiatric Research on the impact of the pandemic on healthcare workers and other frontline personnel. The University of Utah (a principal collaborator in the study) issued an early April press release about the study, which was quickly picked up by 51 news outlets located in seven countries with a potential audience of nearly 93 million people. Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and other study collaborators have been credited among the research team throughout the releases, marking a significant contribution to pandemic and healthcare research.
- SWIFT-IVI Provides Grants for Health Services Research by Independent VA Investigators
The Small aWard Initiative for impacT – Independent VA Investigators (SWIFT-IVI) program kicked off in FY21. This HSR&D funded program supports health services research by independent VA investigators. Eight proposals were funded totaling $475,867. The SWIFT-IVI program is planning to issue a request for proposals for FY22. Dr. Teresa Hudson is the SWIFT-IVI Director; Mary Kate Bartnik (Project Coordinator) and Ijeoma Azih (Research Assistant) help administer the program. If you are located at a VA that does not have a HSR&D COIN and did not receive the previous request for proposals announcement, please email Mary.Bartnik@va.gov and Ijeoma.Azih@va.gov to be added to the email list.
- Drs. Joseph Boffa and Claire Houtsma Awarded Office of Connected Care Grant
Drs. Boffa and Houtsma were recently awarded a VA Office of Connected Care (OCC) grant to understand the optimal balance of virtual and traditional care and what OCC technologies are the best fit for the needs and situations of Veterans identified at high risk for suicide.
- Dr. Amanda Raines Interviewed by Today.com and Helps Coordinate ABCT Conference
Dr. Raines was recently interviewed by Today.com regarding strategies for dealing with anxiety and stress. Dr. Raines is also serving as the Local Arrangements Coordinator for the upcoming Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) conference. ABCT is a multidisciplinary organization committed to advancing the scientific understanding, assessment, prevention, and treatment of human problems through the application of evidence-based principles. They will be hosting their annual convention for the first time since 2004 in New Orleans, Louisiana from November 18 to 21 at the Hyatt Regency.
- Drs. Joseph Constans and Gala True’s HSR&D Innovation Grant Extended
Drs. Constans and True received an extension until March 2022 for their HSR&D Innovation grant, Veteran Informed Safety Intervention and Outreach Network (VISION) (INV 19-294). This project takes a public health approach to changing the conversation and culture around gun safety by collaborating with gun sellers and owners to deliver means restriction counseling and materials in community-based settings.
Last updated: April 22, 2021
In this Issue— 2020 SC MIRECC Awards
— Meet Our New SC MIRECC Fellow: Alexander Uzdavines, PhD, Houston Anchor Site
— 2021 BEST Fellows
— Recognizing the SC MIRECC Diversity & Inclusion Task Force
— Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Calendar of Events April-June 2021
— Highlights from Our Anchor Sites
— New Clinical Educator Products
— Publication Highlights
— Pilot Study Grant Opportunity
— VISN 16 Research Methods and Analysis Consultation Services
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