DCoE Blog

  • From Car Accident to Beauty Pageant

    Read the full story: From Car Accident to Beauty Pageant
    Photo courtesy of A Head for the Future

    Service members who deal with traumatic brain injury (TBI) find different ways to overcome it. Tina Garcia, who experienced a TBI in a car accident 15 years ago, found a unique platform of expression. A Head for the Future shares Tina’s story of her participation in the Miss Colorado Senior pageant and overcoming her TBI:

    Air Force veteran Tina Garcia woke up in a daze after her car was rear-ended in 2002. When she was rushed to the hospital, she was told not to move and that her neck was probably broken. Garcia was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Recovery was tough but eventually led her down a surprising path.

  • Leaving the Military? Sesame Street Can Help Your Kids Adjust

    Read the full story: Leaving the Military? Sesame Street Can Help Your Kids Adjust
    Photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop 2016

    It’s hard enough for a service member to move back to civilian life after active duty, but it can be uniquely stressful for military children who have never lived in a non-military community. And while kids get lots of help from family programs when moving from one base to another, that help isn’t always there when a family leaves the service.

    Now, a new resource on the popular Sesame Street for Military Families website fills this gap. This new resource helps parents and children maintain good mental health, “during the time of transition from active-duty to civilian life, which is more pronounced now because of the drawdown of troops,” said psychologist Kelly Blasko of the National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2).

  • Why Helping Civilian Providers Understand Military Culture Matters

    Read the full story: Why Helping Civilian Providers Understand Military Culture Matters
    U.S. Army photo by Dustin Senger

    One size does not fit all when it comes to health care. As some service members and veterans feel more comfortable turning to civilian providers, providers can treat them more effectively if they understand military culture.

    Presenters at the 2015 Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Summit spoke about how civilian providers can improve their understanding of service members, veterans and their families by learning more about military culture. Providers can use free workshops and seminars, and information on programs that may assist veterans.

    “The most important thing we can do is to make an effort to know and learn about the military culture. That will help the relationship grow stronger and better,” said Kim Ruocco, chief external relations officer of the Suicide Prevention and Postvention Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

  • Phone Call Makes World of Difference for Combat Veteran

    Laura Davis has seen many happy endings in her time helping service members and veterans as an inTransition coach, but for her, a recent case stands out because she was able to get someone back on his feet and ensure he remained connected to valuable mental health resources.

    The recent case started when a provider referred a veteran to the inTransition program for continued care with his posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). InTransition is designed to pair coaches with service members to maintain their mental health care treatment during changes in status. inTransition coaches are trained to help move service members and veterans between health care systems or providers every step of the way. Coaches bring military culture awareness and experience. Davis is an example; she understands the situations veterans face. Her father served in the military, was deployed to Iraq for Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s, and displayed symptoms of PTSD.

  • Clinician’s Corner: Second Annual DCoE Summit Looks at Continuum of Care and Care Transitions across the Military Health System

    Lolita O’Donnell is Planning and Logistics Division Chief, Operations, for the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

    We’re counting down the minutes to next week’s second annual Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury summit, scheduled for Sept. 9-11 in Falls Church, Virginia.

    This year’s conference uses a web-based platform for a virtual exhibit hall and for the sessions, offering registrants the opportunity to attend from anywhere in the world and to accrue up to 19 continuing education credits.

  • Military Kids, Teachers Find Back-to-School Help Online

    Read the full story: Military Kids, Teachers Find Back-to-School Help Online
    U.S. Army photo by Ignacio Iggy Rubalcava

    Two of the middle-school boys in the focus group kept refilling their drinks. Others fidgeted. Chairs scraped and voices rose in multiple conversations. But when one boy said he was afraid that his father wouldn’t come home from his deployment, the room grew silent and the other boys focused on him.

    “I heard about the fear directly from the little boy and I observed the immediate connection,” said psychologist Kelly Blasko, who led focus groups as the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) set out to create a website for military kids. “Our mission was clear: connect these children so they can support each other and not feel alone.”

    Today, the T2 Military Kids Connect (MKC) website has received more than a quarter million hits since it launched in January 2012. Teen and tween avatars in camouflage gear share tips about coping with deployments, siblings or moving, and teen-created videos offer introductions to new military bases.

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