Since October 2011, HRSA, NAO, A-TrACC and AHECs nationwide have been working to impact the delivery of healthcare services in the civilian sector for veterans, service members and their families coping with post deployment mental and behavioral health and substance abuse issues. The overarching goal of this initiative is to better serve returning soldiers and their families.
AHEC programs and centers in 47 states are providing professional continuing education for civilian primary care, mental and behavioral health, and other health care providers, giving them the knowledge and skills needed to recognize and address the needs of this special population.
As of February 2014, this effort has resulted in 13,298 civilian primary care, mental/behavioral health, and other providers attending CE programs offered by AHECs on this topic – far exceeding the project goal to reach 10,000 providers.
Veterans face substantial need for enhanced and specialized behavioral health care due to both above average prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and also due to issues related to reintegration into civilian and family life. The AHEC Veterans Mental Health Project (VMH) is a specific initiative funded by HRSA to meet the needs of civilian health care professionals in providing high quality, culturally competent care to the veteran population. HRSA staff and NAO leadership have long promoted using existing AHEC expertise and resources to address this need, firmly believing that the AHEC network is an expeditious and effective vehicle for getting information into the hands of providers.
The map above includes the 126 AHECs participating in this project. An interactive version of this map can be accessed at AHECs Providing Veterans Mental Health CE .
This toolkit provides tools and guidance to help AHEC staff plan and host a continuing education event for health professionals on the needs of veterans, National Guard, Reservists, and their families who may be coping with post deployment mental and behavioral health issues and are seeking health care in the civilian sector. Toolkit >
Webinars offered in 2012 and 2013 focused on the mental/behavioral health needs of veterans, service members, and their families, including issues related to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). The series created a learning community among AHEC staff and gave them an understanding of issues unique to those who are or have been in the military and the clinical aspects of disorders that may occur after deployment.
Train the Trainer Workshop Summary (PDF - 615 KB)
Ten face-to-face Train the Trainer (TTT) Workshops were held in January/February/March 2012 for AHEC program and center staff. Workshops equipped participants to plan continuing education (CE) programs for civilian primary care, mental/behavioral health, and other health care providers. Participants learned how to use and build on an existing curriculum to develop CE programming that meets the specific needs of providers in their communities. The curriculum was developed by the North Carolina AHEC program and the Citizen Soldier Support Program (CSSP), a Department of Defense-funded program at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.
A-TrACC online trainings are presented through Adobe Connect. Upon registering for a webinar, you will receive a confirmation email with the web address for that event, the telephone conference line number and the participant code. Many webinars are offered in two or more sessions. Content is the same, so register for the one that best fits your schedule.
A-TrACC can answer questions, share examples, offer guidance and put you in touch with other experts who can provide the appropriate assistance.
Please also send us your suggestions for future training topics.