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Uniformed Services University Shares Vital Research on Military Health at Meetings on Ukraine

Image of Military personnel and researchers pose for picture. From left, U.S. Army Col. (Dr.) Sebastian Schnellbacher, deputy commander for clinical services, Munson Army Health Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Uniformed Services University’s U.S. Army Col. (Dr.) Vincent Capaldi, chair of the department of psychiatry; Dr. James “Curt” West, USU vice chair for research; and U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Eric Meyer, who specialized in military cultural competence. The three USU researchers recently presented at two meetings in Poland on brain health and mental challenges for Ukraine’s armed forces. (USU photo courtesy of Vincent Capaldi)

Uniformed Services University researchers in psychiatry and psychology presented at two recent meetings in Poland in February and March 2024 on warfighter brain health and its impact on Ukrainian warfighters.

The multi-day March event was a Department of Defense-sponsored symposium dedicated to addressing the comprehensive spectrum of brain health, encompassing both traumatic brain injury and mental health challenges. Kathy Lee, the DOD director for warfighter brain health policy, made two presentations about traumatic brain injury while at the U.S.-Ukraine medical symposium on brain health, specifically the TBI pathway of care in the field and at military hospitals and clinics and lessons from the field for mild TBI—more commonly known as concussion.

The objectives of the symposium were:

  • Evaluating brain health in the context of the war in Ukraine
  • Developing integrated brain health strategies
  • Enhancing brain health science through international cooperation

USU’s U.S. Army Col. (Dr.) Vincent Capaldi, chair of the department of psychiatry, gave two presentations: “The Importance of Sleep in Military Operations,” and “Treating Acute Stress Reaction: iCOVER: Using Technology in Psychiatry.”

Dr. James “Curt” West, USU department of psychiatry vice chair for research, presented a talk on "Frontline Support: The Value of Embedded Mental Health Programs in the Military."

In 2023, West and then-U.S. Public Health Service Capt. (Dr.) Joshua Morganstein, deputy director of USU’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, created a groundbreaking online course, “Disaster and Prevention Psychiatry: Protecting Health and Fostering Community Resilience,” with the American Psychiatric Association.

The course provides a comprehensive focus on public mental health principles and how they affect individuals and their disrupted communities in times of rising global disasters and conflict. First responders, disaster workers, policy makers, and community leaders are encouraged to take the course.

During the most recent symposium, USU Center for Deployment Psychology Director William Brim, a doctorate in psychology, presented his research on deployment and redeployment-related mental health issues, specifically assessment and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and insomnia.

Also in attendance were USU School of Medicine faculty members:

  • U.S. Air Force neurologist Lt. Col. (Dr.) Thomas Bayuk, whose specialty is sports neurology and concussion
  • Dr. Warren Dorlac, who specializes in trauma surgery and trauma care
  • Dr. John Holcomb, whose expertise includes whole blood and casualty evacuations and who has visited Ukraine repeatedly to work as a trauma surgeon for a nonprofit.
  • U.S. Air Force Lt. Col.(Dr.) Eric Meyer (military cultural competence).

Meyer presented an “Overview of Combat & Operational Stress Control” and an “Introduction to Psychological First Aid."

In February 2024, researchers from USU’s Center for Deployment Psychology and Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress attended the “Ukraine Research Needs and Capabilities Symposium” in Poland. That meeting welcomed more than 40 U.S. and Ukrainian combat casualty care experts to discuss ethical considerations and operational and regulatory controls related to medical research in Ukraine.

There, Brim and CSTS Associate Director, Dr. David Benedek, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience, presented on current and future mental health training and research in Ukraine. Benedek’s interests lie in traumatic stress responses.

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Last Updated: May 14, 2024
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