North Carolina AHEC Program
winter 2012 newsletter | home

NC AHEC Leads National Veterans and Families Mental & Behavioral Health Project

More than one and and a half million US service men and women have deployed at least once since 2001 in Afghanistan and/or Iraq. Traumatic Brain Injury has been estimated to affect 20-30% of surviving casualties and 26% have screened positive for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, among other diagnoses.

Partnering with the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has selected the National AHEC to provide a special initiative. The AHEC Veterans and Families Mental and Behavioral Health Training Project is designed to serve veterans, reservists, and their families seeking health care in the civilian sector who are coping with post deployment mental and behavioral health and substance abuse issues. The goal is to train 10,000 continuing education participants by 2014 through a train-the-trainer model, with the target audience being primary care, mental and behavioral health, and other health care providers.

This 12-month training project is based on the success of the NC AHEC veterans and mental health training activities offered by all nine NC AHEC sites and the Citizen Soldier Support Program (CSSP). South East AHEC (SEAHEC) received a contract to work with CSSP to conduct a national needs assessment and to develop and implement ten regional one-day train-the-trainer programs across the country. As part of the project, they are also organizing monthly webinars on a variety of clinical and related topics, and offering a one-day train-the-trainer program at the National AHEC Conference in July 2012. The contract began September 29, 2011 and is in effect until September 20, 2012. During this time, Sheryl Pacelli, MEd, SEAHEC's director of mental/allied/public health, will devote half of her time to this project.

HRSA Grantee Technical Assistance (A-TrACC) will support AHEC in delivering these trainings in high priority areas and work on evaluation capacity and performance measures for the project.