Health Services Research & Development

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2017 HSR&D/QUERI National Conference Abstract

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2002 — Perspectives on Implementation of Evidence-Based Psychotherapy for PTSD

Lead/Presenter: Paula Schnurr
All Authors: Schnurr PP (National Center for PTSD) McGuire MN (Mental Health Services) Sayer NA (Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research) Wiltsey-Stirman S (National Center for PTSD)

Brief description of panelists:
Paula P. Schnurr, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the National Center for PTSD. Marsden H. McGuire, M.D., is the Deputy Chief Consultant for Mental Health Standards of Care in the Office of Mental Health Services. Nina A. Sayer, Ph.D., is the Director of the CREATE focused on improving access and engagement in evidence-based therapies for PTSD (EBT4PTSD) and Deputy Director of CCDOR. Shannon Wiltsey-Stirman, Ph.D., is an investigator at the Dissemination and Training Division of the National Center for PTSD.

Description of the question or issue that will be discussed:
Over a decade ago, VA began an ambitious national training program to implement evidence-based psychotherapy for mental health disorders. The program includes two of the most effective treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy. Since 2006, over 7,000 VA clinicians have been trained in one of both of these therapies, yet research indicates that most Veterans with PTSD do not receive these treatments. Panelists will speak from perspectives that provide information about the barriers and solutions to enhancing access to evidence-based psychotherapy. Dr. McGuire, representing the Program Office that oversees the national training program, will discuss the unique challenges he faces in light of the competing pressures to ensure access to treatment versus access to specialty treatments--which are not contradictory in principle but can create competing pressures in practice. Dr. Sayer will speak from her perspective in having studied the implementation of evidence-based treatment for PTSD through qualitative and quantitative methods. Dr. Wiltsey-Stirman will add to the presentation by discussing the issue of fidelity--how to measure it and how to enhance it in order to maximize treatment and program outcomes.

Significance—Description of why the issue is important for Veterans, VA, and the audience:
PTSD is a high-priority issue for VA given that over 10% of VA patients struggle with the disorder. The panel will advance understanding of what VHA can do to enhance high quality implementation of evidence-based psychotherapies in routine care and how can VHA improve reach of evidence-based psychotherapies in different practice settings. The panel also will address critical topics for health services research to help VHA meet the goal of improving access to optimal treatments for PTSD.