Video conferencing for veterans wins award

Friday, November 5 2010

With more veterans returning from the front lines of military combat, those who support their mental well-being are finding new ways to reach out to them.

Peter Tuerk, a psychologist and the associate director of the post-traumatic stress disorder clinical team at the Charleston, South Carolina, V.A. Medical Center was recently given a national award for his use of video conferencing to conduct therapy with veterans who cannot make it to the hospital for treatment.

Next Gov reports that Tuerk recently received a national V.A. award for his pioneering work and his contributions to rehabilitation and improvement in the quality-of-life of war-injured veterans.

Tuerk practices exposure therapy, an approach that gradually relives the traumatic events in a nonthreatening setting with a therapist. But the therapy requires easy access to a clinician, which is not always available to many veterans, particularly those living in isolated, rural areas.

The Army Times reports that the Army is providing the most tele-mental healthcare of any of the services, according to Greg Gahm of the Pentagon's National Center for Tele-Health and Technology. At Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., there is a network of 50 providers who deliver care via video conference to personnel at clinics in the northeast.