MIRECC / CoE
Newsletter | Summer 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. Darius Dawson Receives Diversity Supplement Award
Dr. Dawson was awarded a Diversity Supplement Award for the project “Examining Racial/Ethnic Minority Veterans’ Access to Mental Health Treatment and Research.” This project will supplement the VA-funded grant, “A Pragmatic Trial of Brief CBT for Anxiety in VA Primary Care” (IIR 18-233: Drs. Terri Fletcher and Jeffrey Cully, Co-PIs). In this project, Dr. Dawson seeks to understand barriers to treatment and research access among underserved Veterans. Using a mixed-methods approach, the parent trial will be expanded to include surveys assessing sociocultural factors that may influence anxiety symptom presentation and access to mental health care across racial/ethnic groups, as well as in-depth qualitative interviews to better understand unique cultural factors that may influence symptoms and access among African American and Hispanic Veterans.
- Dr. Sara Nowakowski Has New In Press CBT-I Book
Dr. Nowakowski (editor) and co-editors’ book on Adapting Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) will be published in October. A labor of love for Dr. Nowakowski for more than a year, the book will allow clinicians who are already familiar with the basics of CBT-I to quickly determine how to best deliver and/or modify treatment depending on the unique needs of their client or patient population.
- Dr. JoAnn Kirchner’s Behavioral Health Implementation Facilitation Learning Hub Featured in QUERI News
Dr. Kirchner was interviewed by CIDER’s QUERI Dissemination Coordinator about her Implementation Facilitation Learning Hub, including its importance, how it supports the uptake of effective practices, and why it’s important for VA stakeholders to have a better understanding of implementation science. Visit https://www.queri.research.va.gov/qnews/jun21/03-Behavioral-Health-Implementation-Learning-Hub-Kirchner.cfm to read the complete interview.
- Dr. Angie Waliski Selected as Co-Chair of the IQuEST, CeMHOR, and SC MIRECC Diversity Committee
Dr. Waliski was selected as Co-Chair of the HSR&D Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety (IQuEST), the HSR&D Center for Mental Healthcare and Outcomes Research (CeMHOR), and SC MIRECC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. The purpose of the committee is to promote a shared culture of diversity and inclusion across sites and centers. The committee is charged with assessing the needs of the Centers and their faculty and staff on an ongoing basis and developing and implementing diversity activities and communication with support from leadership. Serving alongside Dr. Joshua Hamer (Chair), they will develop a system to choose committee members, submit plans for DEI activities to each center’s leadership, and implement at least one activity within four months of the launch of the committee.
- Dr. Carolyn Greene Interviewed on DEI in Technology by Woebot Health
Dr. Greene spoke with Woebot Health about accessible mental health care, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and opportunities for digital therapeutic companies to provide better access to care for historically underserved populations. Dr. Greene is a member of Woebot Health’s Clinical Diversity Advisory Board. Watch the interview or read the article at https://woebothealth.com/interview-dr-carolyn-greene/.
- Drs. Eva Woodward and Rajinder Sonia Singh Write AcademyHealth Blog Post
Drs. Woodward and Singh’s blog post tackles how using implementation frameworks to address health care disparities can help with COVID-19 vaccine distribution to Black people and people of color. They examine the issue by applying an adapted health equity implementation framework, specifically exploring the innovation being implemented, recipients and their cultural factors, the clinical encounter, inner and outer system contexts, and the societal context. Read the post at https://academyhealth.org/blog/2021-04/disentangling-health-care-disparities-complex-using-implementation-frameworks-can-help.
- Dr. Claire Houtsma Awarded NVDRS and SC MIRECC Pilot Grants
Dr. Houtsma’s National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) New Investigator Research Award grant, “When Safe Firearm Storage Isn’t Enough: Comparing Risk Profiles Among Civilian and Veteran Firearm Suicide Decedents,” uses data available from the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Restricted Access Database. The first aim of the study is to utilize descriptive statistics to provide information about storage practices among civilian and Veteran firearm suicide decedents. The second aim is to determine which risk factors distinguish firearm suicide decedents who employed safer storage practices from those who used less safe practices, within civilian and Veteran subpopulations. The funding award is $6,500.
Dr. Houtsma’s SC MIRECC Pilot Grant, “Feasibility and Acceptability of Caring Contacts for Suicide Prevention Among Veterans Recently Separated from Military Service,” will examine the feasibility of partnering with a VA program, the Military2VA (M2VA) Case Management Program, to identify recently separated Veterans, pilot a Caring Contacts text message intervention with at least 20 Veterans, and assess the acceptability and initial utility of the intervention using quantitative and qualitative measures. The funding award is $7,825.
- Dr. Joseph Constans Awarded Military Suicide Research Consortium Grant
Dr. Constans’s grant, “Understanding Risk Factors for Suicide Attempts Using Firearms versus Suicide Attempts Using Other Means,” aims to better understand psychological risk factors that might discriminate between those with firearm versus non-firearm suicide attempts. Because very little is known about the psychological characteristics of those who choose firearms versus other means of suicide, the project is exploratory in nature. The study team hypothesizes that those individuals who have a firearm-related attempt will show higher rates of alcohol use and be more likely to have experienced a head injury. The team is also interested in understanding how other psychological constructs might uniquely interact in networks involving those who choose firearms in suicide attempts. Drs. Joseph Boffa and Jamie Tock serve as Co-Is on the grant. The funding award is $62,813.
- Dr. Joseph Boffa Awarded NVDRS Grant
Dr. Boffa’s National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) New Investigator Research Award grant is titled “Crisis Lines as a Self-Directed Violence Prevention Intervention: Evaluating Total and Longitudinal Relationships between Crisis Line Contacts and Veteran Suicide Rates.” This data analysis project will utilize large, longitudinal national databases from the CDC’s NVDRS and the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) to examine the relationship between VCL utilization and Veteran suicide rates both cross-sectionally and over time. While VCL utilization may be positively associated with national suicide rates, his team will examine whether changes in state-level utilization are associated with dampening state-level trends in Veteran suicide rates. This project has important implications for public health efforts and policy more broadly, including the overall effectiveness of crisis lines on suicide prevention efforts. The funding amount is $6,500.
- VISION Team Launches Website to Prevent Veteran Firearm Suicides
Drs. Constans and True (PIs), and colleague’s new website for the Veteran-Informed Safety Intervention & Outreach Network (VISION) coalition is available at www.visioncoalition.net. Visitors can learn about the VISION team and their work, access resources, and get involved. The team has started outreach to firearm owners through tabling at gun shows in Louisiana.
Last updated: July 28, 2021
In this Issue
— Using MIDAS – A Golden Methodologic Resource for SC MIRECC Investigators
— Clinical Educator Grant Program Now Accepting Applications
— Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Calendar of Events July-September 2021
— Highlights from Our Anchor Sites
— New Clinical Education Products
— Publication Highlights
— Pilot Study Grant Opportunity
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