• DCoE Leader Updates Senate Panel on PTSD, TBI Research, Care

    Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Director Capt. Mike Colston appeared before a Senate Armed Services subcommittee last week to testify on advancements in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) research. More than a quarter of service members were treated last year for these high-profile injuries.

    Also testifying were Capt. Walter Greenhalgh, director of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda, Maryland, and Dr. Amy Street, deputy director of Women’s Health Services Division of the National Center for PTSD at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • Soldier Opens Up About Sexual Assault, Recovery

    Sexual assault imposes significant psychological consequences on the survivor, as shown by this soldier’s story of recovery. DCoE appreciates her courage to share her story and her desire to help others.

    Silhouette of woman in front of window
    Photo by Spc. Michael Sharp

    Pvt. Jane Smith (not her real name) enlisted in the Army right out of high school in 1999 and joined a unit driving trucks at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. She was excited about her new job and aimed to make the military a career. But Smith’s excitement came to an abrupt end shortly after her arrival.

    Smith was raped by a fellow soldier.

  • New Resource Helps Sexual Assault Patients Understand Options
    Health Care Management of Sexual Assault/Sexual Harassment

    The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, in support of the Military Health System, released a new resource to help those who experience a sexual assault understand military health options. The easy-to-follow brochure, “Sexual Assault Health Care Support for Patients,” is the result of collaboration and intensive research by various organizations throughout the Defense Department.

    The brochure is available to download and health care providers can place bulk orders. It highlights Military Health System and service resources, and outlines:

  • DCoE Webinar Preview: Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children

    The Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau report, “Child Maltreatment 2010” found that 9.2 percent of victimized children were sexually assaulted, most often between the ages of 7 and 13.

    Child sexual abuse victims are at an increased risk for future sexual assaults. They often feel significant distress and display numerous psychological concerns and developmental delays. A leading expert in crimes against children will discuss risk factors, symptoms and how sexual predators use social media and other platforms to approach their victims during a webinar hosted by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury 1- 2:30 p.m. (ET) April 28. This webinar will also address ways to educate parents, children, law enforcement and others to prevent child sexual abuse.

  • TBI Champion: Open Up to Your Kids about Brain Injury
    Photo courtesy of Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center

    Air Force veteran John Sharpe sustained a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 1990, when he fell asleep behind the wheel of his truck and ran into a tree. He was in a coma for more than 40 days.

    More than 25 years later, John is a TBI advocate who works at the Department of Veterans Affairs as a liaison to help patients get the care they need. He has a daughter and son, ages 13 and 11.

  • Help Kids Stay Safe on the Playground
    DVIDS - Images - Easter egg hunt [Image 5 of 5]
    U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John Nieves Camacho

    In Chicago, where I grew up, recess in the winter meant rollicking snowball fights and pretend “skating” races across the school playground’s ice-covered asphalt.

    One day, as I zoomed past another kid on this imaginary rink, I lost my balance, hit the ice face first and shot like a hockey puck across its slippery surface before slamming into a chain link fence.

    Playground safety has improved a lot since then. For instance, sand, woodchips and wood mulch on many playgrounds have replaced the less forgiving surface that broke my fall — and my front tooth.

    Still, more than 200,000 children in the United States land in emergency rooms every year from playground-related injuries, including concussions. Falls like mine are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among children under 14, accounting for more than half of emergency room visits that result in a TBI diagnosis.