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  • Serving our Nation’s Heroes

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    Sailors salute the American flag to kick off a night of entertainment provided by the U.S. Navy ceremonial guard and Navy Band at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Abraham Essenmacher)

    As DCoE’s interim deputy director, I’ve had the great privilege of serving as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) liaison for traumatic brain injury, a Department of Defense (DoD) and VA collaboration to provide the comprehensive care that our service members and their families need and deserve. I recently took some time to reflect on two relatively famous quotes from people that I admire, and found both to have intrinsic relevance to DCoE’s mission and the work that many do for the military community.

    The first is by Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, who would make his mark in history by ordering his 20th Maine Infantry to charge down the bloody slopes of Little Round Top, Penn., a tactic which resulted in a startling-yet-critical victory at the Battle of Gettysburg. Chamberlain delivered the following speech on the dedication of the Maine monuments at Gettysburg, Oct. 3, 1889:

  • First Mild TBI Web-Based Case Study Available on MHS Learn

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    U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Lewis

    Case Study #1: Diagnosing Mild Traumatic Brain Injury is now available to Department of Defense (DoD) health care professionals (including civilians who serve within DoD facilities) on the Military Health System Learning Portal—MHS Learn.

    A series of 12 web-based case studies were developed through a curriculum development committee led by DCoE and feature actual mild TBI cases. The case studies provide an opportunity for health care professionals to gain additional understanding about assessment and treatment of mild TBI in a self-paced environment. One FREE continuing education unit (CEU) or continuing medical education (CME) credit is offered per course!*

    One case will be released each month and remain on MHS Learn when subsequent cases are posted. The second case study is expected to be released in November. For instructions on how to access the TBI web-based case studies on MHS Learn, click here.

  • T2 Releases Mood Tracker Mobile App for Service Members

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    Dr. Greg Gahm, director of T2 and Dr. Tammy Crowder, chief of staff at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) check out the T2 Mood Tracker App using the link from the QR code. (Photo by Dr. Anita Brown, T2)

    The National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), a DCoE component center, developed a FREE smart phone mobile application that makes it easier for service members and veterans to track their emotional health after deployments.

    The T2 Mood Tracker helps users monitor trends of emotions and behaviors from therapy, medication, daily experiences and changes in their environment such as work and home.

    “Therapists and physicians often have to rely on patient recall when trying to gather information about symptoms over the previous weeks or months. Research has shown that information collected after the fact, especially about mood, tends to be inaccurate,” said Dr. Perry Bosmajian, a T2 psychologist. “This application can improve the quality of the treatments for the provider and the patient. The best record of an experience is when it’s recorded at the time and place it happens.”

  • Are You Aware of These Resources on Traumatic Brain Injury?

    TBI word cloud

    Recently, Tracie Lattimore, special adviser to the director of clinical affairs at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) – the primary operational traumatic brain injury (TBI) component of DCoE – participated in a live chat hosted by The Washington Post. The discussion also featured Cheryl Lynch, founder and executive director of American Veterans with Brain Injuries. Lynch’s son Chris is one of the servicemembers featured in a multimedia report by The Washington Post which covers the lives of servicemembers who have experienced a TBI.

    “I’m Cheryl Lynch, the mother of an Army veteran who suffered a brain injury while in the military. After meeting other veterans, who had suffered a brain injury, and their family caregivers I was compelled to share our knowledge and experiences and started the organization American Veterans with Brain Injuries. I’m here today to answer any questions you may have.” Continue reading here.

    During the live chat a few resources were mentioned to help connect servicemembers and their families to information, resources and material on TBI. We encourage you to check out these key resources below:

  • A Corner of Hope: Have You Ever Made a Serious Mistake?

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    U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo

    Jim Hardiman is a licensed clinical social worker and substance abuse counselor. Prior to joining DCoE, he served as a regional care coordinator for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center. He has provided mental health services for patients and their families for more than two decades. Hardiman writes a monthly post for the DCoE Blog on various psychological health conditions affecting servicemembers, veterans and their families—offering encouragement and “A Corner of Hope” for readers.

    Have you ever made a serious mistake? Maybe it almost cost you your life? Rudy was a veteran, retired and working in the civilian sector successfully. One day he decided that his home painting project would go quicker if he used an air compressor and a spray gun. Do you know what can happen to someone painting indoors with this rig without proper ventilation? You guessed it. Rudy passed out.

    It was not until a day later that a friend came by to see him and found him unconscious in his bedroom. Rudy had sustained an anoxic brain injury.

    When Rudy finally realized where he was – he found himself in the hospital sitting in a wheelchair wearing a diaper. He had lost control of his bladder and bowel. Rudy vowed that he would not spend the rest of his life in this condition. While his endurance was very low, his hopes were high.

  • Military Mental Health Care: One Size Does Not Fit All

    Army Col. Charles Engel

    Army Col. Charles Engel, Director, Deployment Health Clinical Center

    Army Col. Charles Engel, director of the Deployment Health Clinical Center, a DCoE component center, recently wrote a post on the Huffington Post blog, discussing psychological health care and the Army’s RESPECT-Mil Program. Find an excerpt of the piece below:

    In the mental health care world, we have long known that mental health specialists alone are inadequate to meet our nation's diverse mental health needs. Indeed, it has now been more than 30 years since psychiatrist Darrel Regier estimated that 60 percent of mental health care is delivered by primary care providers, famously describing primary care as America's "de facto mental health service system."

    We have learned that access and staffing, while important, are only two factors among many that contribute to the de facto system. For example, many with depression and anxiety experience painful physical symptoms and they may not realize the mental health nature of their difficulties. Others may avoid mental health care for fear that they will be viewed as weak or crazy. A recent Army study found that about half of soldiers returning from Iraq with depression or anxiety problems believed that seeking mental health services would harm their career. Furthermore, many soldiers reported lack of confidence in mental health treatment or lack of trust in mental health specialists.