DCoE Blog

  • Understanding Cultural Differences and Health Care
    Service members from various branches at ceremony at stadium.
    U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Aaron Ritter

    Cultural identity can affect how service members and their families engage with their health care providers. A recent Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) webinar addressed these impacts and how health care providers can help minimize them.

    Our Diverse Military

    Like the larger American population, those who serve their country in the military represent an intersection of people from every race, class, gender and sexual orientation.


  • Alcohol Use, PTSD among Combat Servicewomen
    woman in battle dress fatigues briefing service men and women
    U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amy M. Ressler

    Women didn’t officially serve in ground combat positions until 2013. However, many of them did their jobs in real-time combat settings, often under direct fire. Despite this, research on how deployment affects women is limited. Scientists discussed the need for more research and other post-deployment concerns that affect female service members during a webinar hosted by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

    Where’s the Data?

    Almost half of female service members eligible for care through the Defense Health Agency do not use it. This lack of use makes it harder to gather data on their post-combat experiences. Also, most of the post-deployment studies on PTSD and substance use disorder occurred before women openly served in combat. This means most deployment-related studies do not accurately reflect the experiences of women.

  • Cognitive Rehabilitation for Mild TBI
    U.S. Army photo by Spc. Lance Hartung

    According to the Defense Medical Surveillance System, mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), also known as concussion, accounts for more than 82 percent of TBI cases throughout the Defense Department worldwide.

    “Service members and veterans who have sustained a concussion may experience cognitive symptoms that keep them from normal activity,” said Linda M. Picon, the Department of Veterans Affairs liaison for TBI at the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE).

    “These symptoms may be related to a history of mild TBI and to deployment-related complaints such as chronic pain, headaches, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, substance use disorders and life stressors following return from deployment,” said Picon during a recent webinar hosted by DCoE.

  • Identifying, Preventing Sexual Abuse of Children
    child peering around a corner
    U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Mike MacLeod

    Educating everyone who might potentially be involved in a sexual assault — whether as health care provider, victim, offender or bystander — can help prevent sexual assault against children, according to David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center.

    “These are complicated situations for people to report about, and for investigators to find out what's going on. Frequently, there's tremendous allegiance, even on the part of victims, to the offenders,” Finkelhor told participants in an April webinar hosted by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). “What we really need is a fully integrated safety and health curriculum for young people that is developmentally informed.”

  • Experts Explain New Clinical Guideline for Concussion Headaches
    U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dave Ahlschwede

    Experts from the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) and the Department of Veterans Affairs provided an overview of a new clinical recommendation for headaches associated with concussion during a recent Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury webinar.

    Headache is the most common symptom of concussion. Other symptoms include sleep disturbances, dizziness, confusion, nausea or vomiting, blurred vision, sensitivity to light or sound, memory problems, and behavior and mood changes.

    Between 2000 and 2015, more than 344,000 service members experienced a traumatic brain injury. Approximately 82 percent of these injuries were classified as concussion. In a study of veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, 74 percent reported post-traumatic headaches within 30 days of a concussion.

  • TBI Experts Debate Causes of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
    U.S. Navy photo by EJ Hersom

    With the public taking a close look at whether repeated sports injuries cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) hosted a webinar Jan. 14 on the topic.

    CTE is a progressive neurodegenerative disease associated with repeated head injuries. To date, it has mainly been studied by examining the brain tissue after death of a relatively small number of professional athletes who played contact sports.

    Two officials of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) — senior clinical consultant Dr. Donald Marion and program analyst Anne E. Bunner — staged a mock debate on whether sports injuries cause CTE.