In-person vs synchronous virtual provider workshops for Evidence-Based Therapies for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (in press)
Source: The International Journal of Continuing Social Work Education
Date: 2021-06-01

Abstract
In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many mental health provider trainings for evidence-based therapies (EBTs) shifted to virtual rather than in-person formats. The purpose of this paper is to compare workshops in EBTs for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that were formerly conducted in person to workshops conducted virtually during the pandemic. Providers reported similar ratings for learning objective achievements between in-person and virtual trainings. Providers and trainers reported facilitators and barriers to learning in virtual training and provided recommendations for virtual trainings. Both provider participants and trainers identified a loss of networking opportunities as the primary drawback of virtual training.

Pruiksma, K. E., Blankenship A. E., Choi, H., Yoo, G., Wolfe, L., Fina B. A., & Dondanville, K. A., for the STRONG STAR Training Initiative. (In Press). In-person vs synchronous virtual provider workshops for Evidence-Based Therapies for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The International Journal of Continuing Social Work Education.

Evaluating a Community-Based Training Program for Evidence-Based Treatments for PTSD using the RE-AIM Framework (in press)
Source: Psychological Services
Date: 2021-06-01

Abstract
Community mental health providers increasingly serve veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, recent surveys find that less than 20% of community providers are adequately trained to implement evidence-based treatments (EBTs) for PTSD. Since 2017, the STRONG STAR Training Initiative (SSTI) model has adapted traditional learning collaboratives aimed at increasing availability of EBTs for PTSD in community settings. This study reports on STRONG STAR program evaluation using the RE-AIM (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance) framework to assess dissemination and implementation outcomes. Between January 2018–January 2020, 280 mental health providers from 25 states participated. Providers initiating EBTs for PTSD with 930 patients, reaching 29% who had PTSD among their caseload. Overall, 238 of patients who initiated EBT completed treatment. Patients who completed treatment demonstrated a 32.51-point decrease (t(237) = 25.27, p < .001) in PTSD symptom severity and an 8.73-point decrease (t(231) = 19.95, p < .001) in depression symptom severity following treatment. High rates of SSTI providers continued implementing EBT for PTSD at 6 months (Cognitive Processing Therapy [CPT]: 95%; Prolonged Exposure [PE]: 72%) and 1-year (CPT: 87%; PE: 77%) posttraining, similar to outcomes reported by community and Department of Veterans Affairs providers. In reporting on the first evaluation of a national training program for community-based mental health providers, we look ahead to continued work in refining scalable models for building provider competence in delivery of EBTs.

Impact Statement: There is need for scalable, resource efficient training models for mental health providers in community settings. Findings presented indicate that not only was STRONG STAR able to reach community providers, but they actively engaged in the training program, gained skills for delivery of evidence-based treatments in their unique settings—demonstrated by substantial symptom improvement among enrolled patients—and were able to sustain use of the therapies over time.

Dondanville, K. A., Fina, B. A., Straud, C. L., Tyler, H., Jacoby, V., Blount, T. H., Moring, J. C., Blankenship, A. E., & Finley, E. P. for the STRONG STAR Training Initiative. (in press). Evaluating a Community-Based Training Program for Evidence-Based Treatments for PTSD using the RE-AIM Framework. Psychological Services.

How often do community-based mental health providers educate and initiate PTSD treatment following training? Answering the question of reach
Source: Implementation Research and Practice
Date: 2021-05-31

May, 2021 - The Training Initiative published an article discussing how training programs can be used to increase the education reach and initiation reach of EBTs for PTSD among veteran-serving community-based providers. Click on the link below for the full article:
How often do community-based mental health providers educate and initiate PTSD treatment following training? Answering the question of reach

Abstract
Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a significant problem. Clinical practice guidelines recommend evidence-based treatments (EBTs) including Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure (PE) as first-line treatments. Training in EBTs for PTSD has often been limited to large-scale systems (e.g., U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs). Research has shown that veteran-serving community-based mental health providers have low rates of training and supervision in EBTs for PTSD, suggesting that training initiatives for these community providers are critical to increase accessibility. The current study aimed to examine the reach of education about EBTs for PTSD and the initiation of EBT for PTSD treatment among veteran-serving community-based providers participating in a large-scale training initiative.

Methods: Participants (N = 280) were community-based, licensed mental health providers who received training in CPT (67%) or PE (33%). Provider attitudes towards EBTs were measured with the Perceived Characteristics of Intervention Scale. Reach was calculated from provider self-reported follow-up survey data, including caseload total number of patients with PTSD, number of patients provided education on EBTs for PTSD, and patient initiation of EBT for PTSD. Reach was calculated for both education and EBT initiation.

Results: Providers reported positive attitudes towards CPT and PE. Rates of education reach for EBTs for PTSD ranged from 30%-76%, and rates of EBTs for PTSD initiation ranged from 11%-35% over the 5-month follow-up period. CPT providers had higher rates of education and initiation earlier in the follow-up period, although differences in initiation rates diminished after 3-months posttraining.

Conclusions: Overall, this study examined how large-scale, training programs can be used to increase the education reach and initiation reach of EBTs for PTSD among veteran-serving community-based providers. Future work should examine how best to augment these training programs to reduce the gap between education and implementation of EBTs for PTSD.

Dondanville, K. A., Fina, B. A., Steigerwald, V. L., McCarthy, K. D., Worley, C., Straud, C. L., Moring, J. C., & Rozek, D. C. for the STRONG STAR Training Initiative. (2021). How Often Do Community-Based Mental Health Providers Educate and Initiate PTSD Treatment Following Training? Answering the Question of Reach. Implementation Research and Practice, 2, 1-11.

Veteran Mental Health: Awareness and Action
Source: The Bob Woodruff Foundation - Got Your 6
Date: 2021-05-24

May, 2021 - The Bob Woodruff Foundation highlighted the need for available, accessible, and engaging veteran-focused mental health services in their recent "Got Your 6" blog. Read the full story below about how the STRONG STAR Training Initiative is training mental healthcare providers across the nation to deliver cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure therapy treatment services, giving veterans access to effective mental health treatment.

Veteran Mental Health: Awareness and Action

Dr. Katherine Dondanville Talks on Cognitive Processing Therapy and PTSD
Source: Sanity Podcast with Dr. Jason Duncan
Date: 2020-08-28

Dr. Katy Dondanville, the STRONG STAR Training Initiative's Program Director, discusses Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and PTSD on the Sanity podcast with Dr. Jason Duncan.

Dr. Dondanville Discusses CPT and PTSD on Sanity

Launching a Competency-Based Training Program in Evidence-Based Treatments for PTSD: Supporting Veteran-Serving Mental Health Providers in Texas
Source: Community Mental Health Journal
Date: 2020-07-14

July, 2020 - The Training Initiative published an article describing the program's development and implementation, baseline characteristics of participating clinicians, and lessons learned toward the scale-up and extension of this competency-based training effort to include other interventions and locations. Click on the link below for the full article:
Launching a Competency-Based Training Program in Evidence-Based Treatments for PTSD: Supporting Veteran-Serving Mental Health Providers in Texas

Abstract
Community mental health providers play an essential role in delivering services to veterans who either have limited access to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities or who prefer to seek care outside of the VA. However, there are limited training opportunities in evidence-based treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) outside of the VA. In 2017, the STRONG STAR Training Initiative was established to develop competency-based training in two evidence-based therapies for PTSD and to provide that training for mental health providers serving veterans and their families in community settings in Texas. This article describes the program’s development and implementation, baseline characteristics of participating clinicians, and lessons learned toward the scale-up and extension of this competency-based training effort to include other interventions and locations.

Dondanville, K.A., Fina, B.A., Straud, C.L. et al. Launching a Competency-Based Training Program in Evidence-Based Treatments for PTSD: Supporting Veteran-Serving Mental Health Providers in Texas. Community Ment Health J 57, 910–919 (2021).

Not Just for Soldiers: Civilians with PTSD Struggle to Find Effective Therapy
Source: National Public Radio (NPR)
Date: 2019-05-20

May, 2019 - National Public Radio (NPR) describes the nationwide shortage of mental health providers trained in evidence-based PTSD therapies (e.g. Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure) and highlights the work of the STRONG STAR Training Initiative in training community-based providers in these therapies. Click on the link below for the full story:
Not Just For Soldiers: Civilians With PTSD Struggle To Find Effective Therapy

STRONG STAR Training Initiative Working to Increase Veteran Access to Evidence-Based Treatments for PTSD
Source: ISTSS Stress Points
Date: 2018-11-01

November, 2018 - ISTSS Stress Points, newsletter of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, highlights STRONG STAR Training Initiative efforts to increase veteran access to evidence-based treatments for PTSD. Click on the link below for the full story:
ISTSS Stress Points on SSTI

HST061: The STRONG STAR Training Initiative with Brooke Fina
Source: Head Space and Training Podcast
Date: 2018-06-12

June, 2018 - Head Space and Training podcast interview with Brooke Fina, LCSW, BCD, expert therapist in Prolonged Exposure and SSTI Training Director, about her work with STRONG STAR, the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD, and the STRONG STAR Training Initiative. Click on the link below for the full story:
SSTI on the Head Space and Training podcast

UT Health Going National to Train Providers in PTSD Therapies
Source: UT Health San Antonio Newsroom
Date: 2017-12-11

December, 2017 - UT Health San Antonio Newsroom announces the national expansion of the STRONG STAR Training Initiative. Click on the link below for the full story:
UT Health SA Newsroom: SSTI National Expansion

UT Health S.A. Launches Programs to Help Veterans, Military Caregivers
Source: KENS-5 TV
Date: 2017-07-03

July, 2017 - KENS-5 TV news story highlights the STRONG STAR Training Initiative as one of two UT Health San Antonio programs to help military veterans. Click on the link below for the full story:
KENS-5 TV SSTI Story

UT Health to Train More Therapists to Treat PTSD
Source: Texas Public Radio
Date: 2017-06-27

June, 2017 - Texas Public Radio story announces and highlights the need for the STRONG STAR Training Initiative. Click on the link below for the full story:
Texas Public Radio SSTI Story

Initiative to Train Providers in Top PTSD Therapies
Source: UT Health San Antonio Newsroom
Date: 2017-06-23

June, 2017 - UT Health San Antonio Newsroom announces the launch of the STRONG STAR Training Initiative. Click on the link below for the full story:

UT Health SA Newsroom: SSTI Launch