Academic Appointments

  • Professor - Med Center Line, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Research & Scholarship

Clinical Trials

  • Comparative Effectiveness Research in Veterans With PTSD Recruiting

    VA Cooperative Study CSP #591 is designed to compare the effectiveness of two types of psychotherapy, Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy, for treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in male and female Veterans. Despite solid evidence that both treatments are effective in Veterans and non-Veterans, there is a lack of evidence about the effectiveness of these treatments compared with one another. The sample will include 900 male and female Veterans with PTSD due to any traumatic military event. Veterans who are eligible and agree to participate in the study will be randomly assigned (by chance) to receive Prolonged Exposure or Cognitive Processing Therapy. The standard "dose" of treatment is 12 weekly sessions but Veterans who improve more rapidly may finish in fewer sessions and Veterans who improve more slowly may have additional sessions. The primary outcome is improvement in PTSD symptoms after treatment. The outcome will be measured at regular follow-up visits that will occur at the middle and at the end of treatment and then 3 and 6 months later. The investigators will measure other outcomes, including additional mental health problems, functioning, quality of life, and use of treatments for mental and physical problems. The investigators also will measure Veterans' treatment preference and examine whether Veterans who get the treatment they prefer do better than Veterans who get the less-preferred treatment. As a large multi-site trial with men and women, CSP #591 is designed to provide conclusive information about whether one treatment is better than the other, overall and for different types of patients-for example, men vs. women, combat Veterans vs. Veterans who experienced military sexual trauma, and older vs. younger Veterans. Regardless of the outcome, patients will have more information to help them make an informed decisions about which treatment to choose and VA will have stronger evidence to help make care Veteran-centered.

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2017-18 Courses


All Publications

  • A randomized controlled trial of a smartphone app for posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology Kuhn, E., Kanuri, N., Hoffman, J. E., Garvert, D. W., Ruzek, J. I., Taylor, C. B. 2017; 85 (3): 267-273


    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is highly prevalent in the population, but relatively few affected individuals receive treatment for it. Smartphone applications (apps) could help address this unmet need by offering sound psychoeducational information and evidence-based cognitive behavioral coping tools. We conducted a randomized controlled trial to assess the efficacy of a free, publicly available smartphone app (PTSD Coach) for self-management of PTSD symptoms.One hundred 20 participants who were an average of 39 years old, mostly women (69.2%) and White (66.7%), recruited primarily through online advertisements, were randomized to either a PTSD Coach (n = 62) or a waitlist condition (n = 58) for 3 months. Web-administered self-report measures of PTSD, PTSD symptom coping self-efficacy, depression, and psychosocial functioning were conducted at baseline, posttreatment, and 3 months following treatment.Following the intent-to-treat principle, repeated-measures analyses of variance (ANOVAs) revealed that at posttreatment, PTSD Coach participants had significantly greater improvements in PTSD symptoms (p = .035), depression symptoms (p = .005), and psychosocial functioning (p = .007) than did waitlist participants; however, at posttreatment, there were no significant mean differences in outcomes between conditions. A greater proportion of PTSD Coach participants achieved clinically significant PTSD symptom improvement (p = .018) than waitlist participants.PTSD Coach use resulted in significantly greater improvements in PTSD symptoms and other outcomes relative to a waitlist condition. Given the ubiquity of smartphones, PTSD Coach may provide a wide-reaching, convenient public health intervention for individuals with PTSD symptoms who are not receiving care. (PsycINFO Database Record

    View details for DOI 10.1037/ccp0000163

    View details for PubMedID 28221061

  • Maintenance and Reach of Exposure Psychotherapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder 18 Months After Training. Journal of traumatic stress Rosen, C. S., Eftekhari, A., Crowley, J. J., Smith, B. N., Kuhn, E., Trent, L., Martin, N., Tran, T., Ruzek, J. I. 2017; 30 (1): 63-70


    This study examined aspects of clinicians' work environment that facilitated sustained use of prolonged exposure (PE) therapy. Surveys were completed by 566 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs clinicians 6 and 18 months after intensive training in PE. The number of patients treated with PE at 18 months (reach) was modeled as a function of clinician demographics, clinician beliefs about PE, and work context factors. There were 342 clinicians (60.4%) who used PE at 6 and 18 months after training, 58 (10.2%) who used PE at 18 but not 6 months, 95 (16.7%) who used PE at 6 but not 18 months, and 71 (12.5%) who never adopted PE. Median reach was 12% of clinicians' appointments with patients with posttraumatic stress disorder. Reach was predicted by flow of interested patients (incident response ratio [IRR] = 1.21 to 1.51), PE's perceived effectiveness (IRR = 1.04 to 1.31), working in a PTSD specialty clinic (IRR = 1.06 to 1.26), seeing more patients weekly (IRR = 1.04 to 1.25), and seeing fewer patients in groups (IRR = 0.83 to 0.99). Most clinicians trained in PE sustained use of the treatment, but on a limited basis. Strategies to increase reach of PE should address organizational barriers and patient engagement.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/jts.22153

    View details for PubMedID 28103401

  • Evidence-based training in the era of evidence-based practice: Challenges and opportunities for training of PTSD providers BEHAVIOUR RESEARCH AND THERAPY Rosen, R. C., Ruzek, J. I., Karlin, B. E. 2017; 88: 37-48


    There is a pressing global need for trained and competent mental health clinicians to deliver evidence-based psychological therapies to millions of trauma survivors in need of care. Three model, large-scale training programs were initiated a decade ago, one in the United Kingdom (U.K.), and two in the United States (U.S.), to disseminate high-quality, evidence-based psychological care to traumatized children and adults in need of assistance. Milestone contributions to implementation science have been made by each of these training programs, although limitations and challenges remain to be considered. In contrast, culturally adapted and simplified PTSD interventions and therapy training programs have also been developed and tested during the past decade, three of which show particular promise for broader implementation. These simplified but evidence-based interventions have been developed for use by lay counsellors or health technicians with minimal or no prior mental health training. Finally, a growing range of technology-based and technology-assisted training models for PTSD providers have also been developed and disseminated in the past decade. This trend is expected to accelerate as more providers become accustomed to acquiring clinical training in this modality or format, although significant barriers to technology-based training will need to be overcome.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.brat.2016.07.009

    View details for Web of Science ID 000392356600006

    View details for PubMedID 28110675

  • Post-training Beliefs, Intentions, and Use of Prolonged Exposure Therapy by Clinicians in the Veterans Health Administration ADMINISTRATION AND POLICY IN MENTAL HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH Ruzek, J. I., Eftekhari, A., Crowley, J., Kuhn, E., Karlin, B. E., Rosen, C. S. 2017; 44 (1): 123-132


    To examine how changes in beliefs during the training process predict adoption of prolonged exposure therapy (PE) by veterans health administration clinicians who received intensive training in this evidence-based treatment. Participants completed a 4-day PE workshop and received expert consultation as they used PE with two or more training cases. Participants were surveyed prior to the workshop, after the workshop, after case consultation (n = 1.034), and 6 months after training (n = 810). Hierarchical regression was used to assess how pre-training factors, and changes in beliefs during different stages of training incrementally predicted post-training intent to use PE and how many patients clinicians were treating with PE 6 months after training. Post-training intent to use PE was high (mean = 6.2, SD = 0.81 on a 1-7 scale), yet most participants treated only 1 or 2 patients at a time with PE. Pre-training factors predicted intent to use and actual use of PE. Changes in beliefs during the workshop had statistically significant yet modest effects on intent and use of PE. Changes in beliefs during case consultation had substantial effects on intent and actual use of PE. Pre-training factors and changes in beliefs during training (especially during case consultation) influence clinicians' adoption of PE. Use of PE was influenced not only by its perceived clinical advantages/disadvantages, but also by contextual factors (working in a PTSD specialty clinic, perceived control over one's schedule, and ability to promote PE to patients and colleagues).

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10488-015-0689-y

    View details for Web of Science ID 000392383600012

    View details for PubMedID 26487392

  • A Review of Studies on the System-Wide Implementation of Evidence-Based Psychotherapies for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in the Veterans Health Administration. Administration and policy in mental health Rosen, C. S., Matthieu, M. M., Wiltsey Stirman, S., Cook, J. M., Landes, S., Bernardy, N. C., Chard, K. M., Crowley, J., Eftekhari, A., Finley, E. P., Hamblen, J. L., Harik, J. M., Kehle-Forbes, S. M., MEIS, L. A., Osei-Bonsu, P. E., Rodriguez, A. L., RUGGIERO, K. J., Ruzek, J. I., Smith, B. N., Trent, L., Watts, B. V. 2016; 43 (6): 957-977


    Since 2006, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has instituted policy changes and training programs to support system-wide implementation of two evidence-based psychotherapies (EBPs) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To assess lessons learned from this unprecedented effort, we used PubMed and the PILOTS databases and networking with researchers to identify 32 reports on contextual influences on implementation or sustainment of EBPs for PTSD in VHA settings. Findings were initially organized using the exploration, planning, implementation, and sustainment framework (EPIS; Aarons et al. in Adm Policy Ment Health Health Serv Res 38:4-23, 2011). Results that could not be adequately captured within the EPIS framework, such as implementation outcomes and adopter beliefs about the innovation, were coded using constructs from the reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, maintenance (RE-AIM) framework (Glasgow et al. in Am J Public Health 89:1322-1327, 1999) and Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR; Damschroder et al. in Implement Sci 4(1):50, 2009). We highlight key areas of progress in implementation, identify continuing challenges and research questions, and discuss implications for future efforts to promote EBPs in large health care systems.

    View details for PubMedID 27474040

  • A Standardized Patient Methodology to Assess Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Skills Performance: Development and Testing in a Randomized Controlled Trial of Web-Based Training TRAINING AND EDUCATION IN PROFESSIONAL PSYCHOLOGY Edwards, K. S., Parish, S. J., Rosen, R. C., Garvert, D. W., Spangler, S. L., Ruzek, J. I. 2016; 10 (3): 149-156

    View details for DOI 10.1037/tep0000119

    View details for Web of Science ID 000383107400004

  • Feasibility, Acceptability, and Potential Efficacy of the PTSD Coach App: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial With Community Trauma Survivors PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA-THEORY RESEARCH PRACTICE AND POLICY Miner, A., Kuhn, E., Hoffman, J. E., Owen, J. E., Ruzek, J. I., Taylor, C. B. 2016; 8 (3): 384-392


    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a major public health concern. Although effective treatments exist, affected individuals face many barriers to receiving traditional care. Smartphones are carried by nearly 2 thirds of the U.S. population, offering a promising new option to overcome many of these barriers by delivering self-help interventions through applications (apps). As there is limited research on apps for trauma survivors with PTSD symptoms, we conducted a pilot feasibility, acceptability, and potential efficacy trial of PTSD Coach, a self-management smartphone app for PTSD.A community sample of trauma survivors with PTSD symptoms (N = 49) were randomized to 1 month using PTSD Coach or a waitlist condition. Self-report assessments were completed at baseline, postcondition, and 1-month follow-up. Following the postcondition assessment, waitlist participants were crossed-over to receive PTSD Coach.Participants reported using the app several times per week, throughout the day across multiple contexts, and endorsed few barriers to use. Participants also reported that PTSD Coach components were moderately helpful and that they had learned tools and skills from the app to manage their symptoms. Between conditions effect size estimates were modest (d = -0.25 to -0.33) for PTSD symptom improvement, but not statistically significant.Findings suggest that PTSD Coach is a feasible and acceptable intervention. Findings regarding efficacy are less clear as the study suffered from low statistical power; however, effect size estimates, patterns of within group findings, and secondary analyses suggest that further development and research on PTSD Coach is warranted. (PsycINFO Database Record

    View details for DOI 10.1037/tra0000092

    View details for Web of Science ID 000376205900016

    View details for PubMedID 27046668

  • Advantages and psychometric validation of proximal intensive assessments of patient-reported outcomes collected in daily life QUALITY OF LIFE RESEARCH Carlson, E. B., Field, N. P., Ruzek, J. I., Bryant, R. A., Dalenberg, C. J., Keane, T. M., Spain, D. A. 2016; 25 (3): 507-516


    Ambulatory assessment data collection methods are increasingly used to study behavior, experiences, and patient-reported outcomes (PROs), such as emotions, cognitions, and symptoms in clinical samples. Data collected close in time at frequent and fixed intervals can assess PROs that are discrete or changing rapidly and provide information about temporal dynamics or mechanisms of change in clinical samples and individuals, but clinical researchers have not yet routinely and systematically investigated the reliability and validity of such measures or their potential added value over conventional measures. The present study provides a comprehensive, systematic evaluation of the psychometrics of several proximal intensive assessment (PIA) measures in a clinical sample and investigates whether PIA appears to assess meaningful differences in phenomena over time.Data were collected on a variety of psychopathology constructs on handheld devices every 4 h for 7 days from 62 adults recently exposed to traumatic injury of themselves or a family member. Data were also collected on standard self-report measures of the same constructs at the time of enrollment, 1 week after enrollment, and 2 months after injury.For all measure scores, results showed good internal consistency across items and within persons over time, provided evidence of convergent, divergent, and construct validity, and showed significant between- and within-subject variability.Results indicate that PIA measures can provide valid measurement of psychopathology in a clinical sample. PIA may be useful to study mechanisms of change in clinical contexts, identify targets for change, and gauge treatment progress.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11136-015-1170-9

    View details for Web of Science ID 000370796700003

    View details for PubMedID 26567018

  • CBT-I Coach: A Description and Clinician Perceptions of a Mobile App for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia JOURNAL OF CLINICAL SLEEP MEDICINE Kuhn, E., Weiss, B. J., Taylor, K. L., Hoffman, J. E., Ramsey, K. M., Manber, R., Gehrman, P., Crowley, J. J., Ruzek, J. I., Trockel, M. 2016; 12 (4): 597-606


    This paper describes CBT-I Coach, a patient-facing smartphone app designed to enhance cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). It presents findings of two surveys of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) CBT-I trained clinicians regarding their perceptions of CBT-I Coach before it was released (n = 138) and use of it two years after it was released (n = 176).VA-trained CBT-I clinicians completed web-based surveys before and two years after CBT-I Coach was publicly released.Prior to CBT-I Coach release, clinicians reported that it was moderately to very likely that the app could improve care and a majority (87.0%) intended to use it if it were available. Intention to use the app was predicted by smartphone ownership (β = 0.116, p < 0.05) and perceptions of relative advantage to existing CBT-I practices (β = 0.286, p < 0.01), compatibility with their own needs and values (β = 0.307, p < 0.01), and expectations about the complexity of the app (β = 0.245, p < 0.05). Two years after CBT-I Coach became available, 59.9% of participants reported using it with patients and had favorable impressions of its impact on homework adherence and outcomes.Findings suggest that before release, CBT-I Coach was perceived to have potential to enhance CBT-I and address common adherence issues and clinicians would use it. These results are reinforced by findings two years after it was released suggesting robust uptake and favorable perceptions of its value.

    View details for DOI 10.5664/jcsm.5700

    View details for Web of Science ID 000374140000019

    View details for PubMedID 26888586

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4795288

  • Design of VA Cooperative Study #591: CERV-PTSD, Comparative Effectiveness Research in Veterans with PTSD CONTEMPORARY CLINICAL TRIALS Schnurr, P. P., Chard, K. M., Ruzek, J., Chow, B. K., Shih, M., Resick, P. A., Foa, E. B., Marx, B. P., Huang, G. D., Lu, Y. 2015; 41: 75-84


    CERV-PTSD is a randomized controlled trial of two of the most effective treatments for PTSD, Prolonged Exposure (PE) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). Despite solid evidence that both treatments are effective, there is limited evidence about their effectiveness relative to one another. The primary objective is to compare the effectiveness of PE and CPT for reducing PTSD symptom severity in a healthcare system that offers both treatments. The secondary objective is to compare the effectiveness of PE and CPT for reducing the severity of comorbid mental health problems and service utilization as well as improving functioning and quality of life. The tertiary objective is to examine whether discrepancy between patient preferences and treatment assignment reduces the effectiveness of each treatment. Exploratory analyses will examine whether demographic and clinical characteristics predict differential response to PE and CPT. The study is designed to randomize 900 male and female veterans with PTSD due to any traumatic military event to receive PE or CPT. The standard dose of treatment is 12 weekly sessions but veterans who improve more rapidly may finish in fewer sessions and veterans who improve more slowly may have additional sessions. The primary outcome is improvement in PTSD symptoms, measured during and after treatment and then 3 and 6 months later. As a large multi-site trial with men and women, CERV-PTSD is designed to advance the delivery of care for PTSD by providing conclusive information about whether one treatment is better than the other, overall, and for different types of patients.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cct.2014.11.017

    View details for Web of Science ID 000353000500010

    View details for PubMedID 25457792

  • Training in the Implementation of Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Provider Correlates of Treatment Outcome JOURNAL OF TRAUMATIC STRESS Eftekhari, A., Crowley, J. J., Ruzek, J. I., Garvert, D. W., Karlin, B. E., Rosen, C. S. 2015; 28 (1): 65-68


    The authors examined the degree to which provider characteristics, such as profession, treatment orientation, prior experience in treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), prior experience with prolonged exposure (PE) therapy, and attitudes about PE, were related to the clinical outcomes of veterans receiving care from clinicians participating in the national Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) PE Training Program. Positive patient outcomes were achieved by providers of every profession, theoretical orientation, level of clinical experience treating PTSD, and prior PE training experience. With 1,105 providers and 32 predictors (13 provider variables), power was at least 90% power to detect an effect of β = .15. Profession was the only provider characteristic significantly related to outcomes, but the mean effect (a 2 point difference on the PTSD Checklist) was too small to be clinically meaningful. The results support the intensive training model used in the VA PE training program and demonstrate that clinicians of varying backgrounds can be trained using interactive training workshops followed by case consultation to deliver PE effectively.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/jts.21980

    View details for Web of Science ID 000349986900009

    View details for PubMedID 25630446

  • Provider-Driven Development of a Measurement Feedback System to Enhance Measurement-Based Care in VA Mental Health COGNITIVE AND BEHAVIORAL PRACTICE Landes, S. J., Carlson, E. B., Ruzek, J. I., Wang, D., Hugo, E., DeGaetano, N., Chambers, J. G., Lindley, S. E. 2015; 22 (1): 87-100
  • The Feasibility, Acceptability, and Efficacy of Delivering Internet-Based Self-Help and Guided Self-Help Interventions for Generalized Anxiety Disorder to Indian University Students: Design of a Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR research protocols Kanuri, N., Newman, M. G., Ruzek, J. I., Kuhn, E., Manjula, M., Jones, M., Thomas, N., Abbott, J. M., Sharma, S., Taylor, C. B. 2015; 4 (4)


    Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is one of the most common mental disorders among university students; however, many students go untreated due to treatment costs, stigma concerns, and limited access to trained mental health professionals. These barriers are heightened in universities in India, where there are scant mental health care services and severe stigma surrounding help seeking.To evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of Internet-based, or "online," cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)-based unguided and guided self-help interventions (using the programs GAD Online and Lantern, respectively) to reduce GAD symptoms in students with clinical and subthreshold GAD and, ultimately, reduce the prevalence and incidence of GAD among the student population.Students will be recruited via 3 colleges in Hyderabad, India, and referred for a campus-wide online screening. Self-report data will be collected entirely online. A total of 300 qualifying students will be randomized in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive GAD Online, Lantern, or to be in a wait-list control condition, stratified by clinical and subthreshold GAD symptomatology. Students will complete a postintervention assessment after 3 months and a follow-up assessment 6 months later, at which point students in the wait-list control condition will receive one of the programs. The primary outcome is GAD symptom severity at 3 months postintervention. Secondary outcomes include GAD caseness at 9 months, other anxiety and depression symptoms, self-efficacy, and functional measures (eg, sleep, social functioning) at 3 and 9 months, respectively. Primary analyses will be differences between each of the intervention groups and the wait-list control group, analyzed on an intention-to-treat (ITT) basis using mixed-design ANOVA.The study commenced in February 2015. The sample was recruited over a 3-week period at each college. The trial is expected to end in December 2015.This trial will be the first to evaluate the use of Internet-based CBT programs compared with a wait-list control group for the treatment of GAD among students in Indian universities. If effective, these programs have the potential to reduce the mental health care treatment gap by providing readily accessible, private, and cost-effective evidence-based care to students with GAD who do not currently receive the treatment they NCT02410265 (Archived by WebCite at

    View details for DOI 10.2196/resprot.4783

    View details for PubMedID 26679295

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4704912

  • Presentation and prevalence of PTSD in a bipolar disorder population: A STEP-BD examination JOURNAL OF AFFECTIVE DISORDERS Hernandez, J. M., Cordova, M. J., Ruzek, J., Reiser, R., Gwizdowski, I. S., Suppes, T., Ostacher, M. J. 2013; 150 (2): 450-455


    BACKGROUND: Co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses have a negative impact on quality of life and change the presentation and prognosis of bipolar disorder (BD). To date, comorbidity research on patients with BD has primarily focused on co-occurring anxiety disorders and trauma history; only recently has there been a specific focus on co-occurring PTSD and BD. Although rates of trauma and PTSD are higher in those with bipolar disorder than in the general population, little is known about differences across bipolar subtypes. METHODS: Using the NIMH STEP-BD dataset (N=3158), this study evaluated whether there were baseline differences in the prevalence of PTSD between participants with bipolar disorder I (BDI) and bipolar disorder II (BDII), using the MINI and the Davidson Trauma Scale. Differences in PTSD symptom clusters between patients with BDI and BDII were also evaluated. RESULTS: A significantly greater proportion of participants with BDI had co-occurring PTSD at time of study entry (Χ(2)(1)=12.6; p<.001). BDI and BDII subgroups did not significantly differ in re-experiencing, avoidance, or arousal symptoms. LIMITATIONS: The analysis may suggest a correlational relationship between PTSD and BD, not a causal one. Further, it is possible this population seeks treatment more often than individuals with PTSD alone. Finally, due to the episodic nature of BD and symptom overlap between the two disorders, misdiagnosis is possible. CONCLUSIONS: PTSD may be more prevalent in patients with BDI. However, the symptom presentation of PTSD appears similar across BD subtypes. Individuals should be thoroughly assessed for co-occurring diagnoses in an effort to provide appropriate treatment.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jad.2013.04.038

    View details for Web of Science ID 000323563300039

    View details for PubMedID 23706842

  • Evaluation of a Mentoring Program for PTSD Clinic Managers in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES Rosen, C. S., Nguyen, T., Bernardy, N. C., Hamblen, J. L., Ruzek, J. I., Friedman, M. J. 2012; 63 (10): 1047-1050


    This evaluation study elicited feedback from participants in a novel program intended to help posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) clinical managers address organizational challenges in providing services and improving care.Program participants were invited to respond to an online survey developed for this study; 46% (N=121) responded.Two-thirds of survey respondents had engaged in mentoring program activities ten or more times in the past six months. Roughly half the respondents reported that the program helped them be more connected to other clinics, learn about innovations in care, and feel more supported. Those who participated more often (β=.25, p<.01) and rated their mentors highly (β=.59, p<.01) reported greater benefits from the program.Mentees who were actively engaged with the mentoring program reported significant benefits. Efforts are under way to enhance the program by strengthening mentor selection and training.

    View details for DOI 10.1176/

    View details for Web of Science ID 000309488100016

    View details for PubMedID 23032678

  • Measurement of a model of implementation for health care: toward a testable theory IMPLEMENTATION SCIENCE Cook, J. M., O'Donnell, C., Dinnen, S., Coyne, J. C., Ruzek, J. I., Schnurr, P. P. 2012; 7


    Greenhalgh et al. used a considerable evidence-base to develop a comprehensive model of implementation of innovations in healthcare organizations [1]. However, these authors did not fully operationalize their model, making it difficult to test formally. The present paper represents a first step in operationalizing Greenhalgh et al.'s model by providing background, rationale, working definitions, and measurement of key constructs.A systematic review of the literature was conducted for key words representing 53 separate sub-constructs from six of the model's broad constructs. Using an iterative process, we reviewed existing measures and utilized or adapted items. Where no one measure was deemed appropriate, we developed other items to measure the constructs through consensus.The review and iterative process of team consensus identified three types of data that can been used to operationalize the constructs in the model: survey items, interview questions, and administrative data. Specific examples of each of these are reported.Despite limitations, the mixed-methods approach to measurement using the survey, interview measure, and administrative data can facilitate research on implementation by providing investigators with a measurement tool that captures most of the constructs identified by the Greenhalgh model. These measures are currently being used to collect data concerning the implementation of two evidence-based psychotherapies disseminated nationally within Department of Veterans Affairs. Testing of psychometric properties and subsequent refinement should enhance the utility of the measures.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/1748-5908-7-59

    View details for Web of Science ID 000315960900001

    View details for PubMedID 22759451

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3541168

  • Social Constraints, Posttraumatic Cognitions, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Treatment-Seeking Trauma Survivors: Evidence for a Social-Cognitive Processing Model PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA-THEORY RESEARCH PRACTICE AND POLICY Belsher, B. E., Ruzek, J. I., Bongar, B., Cordova, M. J. 2012; 4 (4): 386-391

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0024362

    View details for Web of Science ID 000306305100005

  • Review of exposure therapy: A gold standard for PTSD treatment JOURNAL OF REHABILITATION RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT Rauch, S. A., Eftekhari, A., Ruzek, J. I. 2012; 49 (5): 679-687


    Prolonged exposure (PE) is an effective first-line treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), regardless of the type of trauma, for Veterans and military personnel. Extensive research and clinical practice guidelines from various organizations support this conclusion. PE is effective in reducing PTSD symptoms and has also demonstrated efficacy in reducing comorbid issues such as anger, guilt, negative health perceptions, and depression. PE has demonstrated efficacy in diagnostically complex populations and survivors of single- and multiple-incident traumas. The PE protocol includes four main therapeutic components (i.e., psychoeducation, in vivo exposure, imaginal exposure, and emotional processing). In light of PE's efficacy, the Veterans Health Administration designed and supported a PE training program for mental health professionals that has trained over 1,300 providers. Research examining the mechanisms involved in PE and working to improve its acceptability, efficacy, and efficiency is underway with promising results.

    View details for DOI 10.1682/JRRD.2011.08.0152

    View details for Web of Science ID 000319302800008

    View details for PubMedID 23015579

  • The Comparative Effectiveness of Cognitive Processing Therapy for Male Veterans Treated in a VHA Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Residential Rehabilitation Program JOURNAL OF CONSULTING AND CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY Alvarez, J., McLean, C., Harris, A. H., Rosen, C. S., Ruzek, J. I., Kimerling, R. 2011; 79 (5): 590-599


    To examine the effectiveness of group cognitive processing therapy (CPT) relative to trauma-focused group treatment as usual (TAU) in the context of a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) residential rehabilitation program.Participants were 2 cohorts of male patients in the same program treated with either CPT (n = 104) or TAU (n = 93; prior to the implementation of CPT). Cohorts were compared on changes from pre- to posttreatment using the PTSD Checklist (PCL; Weathers, Litz, Herman, Huska, & Keane, 1993) and other measures of symptoms and functioning. Minorities represented 41% of the sample, and the mean age was 52 years (SD = 9.22). The CPT group was significantly younger and less likely to receive disability benefits for PTSD; however, these variables were not related to outcome.Analyses of covariance controlling for intake symptom levels and cohort differences revealed that CPT participants evidenced more symptom improvement at discharge than TAU participants on the PCL, F(3, 193) = 15.32, p < .001, b = 6.25, 95% CI [3.06, 9.44], and other measures. In addition, significantly more patients treated with CPT were classified as "recovered" or "improved" at discharge, χ2(1, N = 197) = 4.93, p = .032.There is still room for improvement, as substantial numbers of veterans continue to experience significant symptoms even after treatment with CPT in a residential program. However, CPT appears to produce significantly more symptom improvement than treatment conducted before the implementation of CPT. The implementation of this empirically supported treatment in VHA settings is both feasible and sustainable and is likely to improve care for male veterans with military-related PTSD.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0024466

    View details for Web of Science ID 000295339900003

    View details for PubMedID 21744946

  • Implementation of a Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Mentoring Program to Improve Treatment Services PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA-THEORY RESEARCH PRACTICE AND POLICY Bernardy, N. C., Hamblen, J. L., Friedman, M. J., Ruzek, J. I., McFall, M. E. 2011; 3 (3): 292-299

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0024847

    View details for Web of Science ID 000295109800012

  • Development and Validation of a Brief Self-Report Measure of Trauma Exposure: The Trauma History Screen PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT Carlson, E. B., Smith, S. R., Palmieri, P. A., Dalenberg, C., Ruzek, J. I., Kimerling, R., Burling, T. A., Spain, D. A. 2011; 23 (2): 463-477


    Although information about individuals' exposure to highly stressful events such as traumatic stressors is often very useful for clinicians and researchers, available measures are too long and complex for use in many settings. The Trauma History Screen (THS) was developed to provide a very brief and easy-to-complete self-report measure of exposure to high magnitude stressor (HMS) events and of events associated with significant and persisting posttraumatic distress (PPD). The measure assesses the frequency of HMS and PPD events, and it provides detailed information about PPD events. Test-retest reliability was studied in four samples, and temporal stability was good to excellent for items and trauma types and excellent for overall HMS and PPD scores. Comprehensibility of items was supported by expert ratings of how well items appeared to be understood by participants with relatively low reading levels. In five samples, construct validity was supported by findings of strong convergent validity with a longer measure of trauma exposure and by correlations of HMS and PPD scores with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. The psychometric properties of the THS appear to be comparable or better than longer and more complex measures of trauma exposure.

    View details for DOI 10.1037/a0022294

    View details for Web of Science ID 000291377500017

    View details for PubMedID 21517189

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3115408

  • Aggressive and Unsafe Driving in Male Veterans Receiving Residential Treatment for PTSD JOURNAL OF TRAUMATIC STRESS Kuhn, E., Drescher, K., Ruzek, J., Rosen, C. 2010; 23 (3): 399-402


    Aggressive and unsafe driving was examined in 474 male veterans receiving Veterans Affairs residential treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Specifically, the authors evaluated if PTSD was associated with aggressive and unsafe driving and if Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans were at higher risk than other war veterans. Approximately two thirds of the sample reported lifetime aggressive driving and one third reported current aggressive driving. Posttraumatic stress disorder severity was associated with aggressive driving, but not other forms of unsafe driving. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans endorsed higher rates of and more frequent aggressive driving than did other veterans. After accounting for PTSD severity, age, income, and marital status being an Iraq and Afghanistan War veteran predicted aggressive driving frequency and infrequent seatbelt use.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/jts.20536

    View details for Web of Science ID 000279419300012

    View details for PubMedID 20564373

  • Distress and Pain During Pelvic Examinations Effect of Sexual Violence 112th Annual Meeting of the Association-of-Military-Surgeons-of-the-United-States Weitlauf, J. C., Finney, J. W., Ruzek, J. I., Lee, T. T., Thrailkill, A., Jones, S., Frayne, S. M. LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS. 2008: 1343–50


    To estimate the range and severity of distress and pain during pelvic examinations among female veterans with and without histories of sexual violence, and to examine whether posttraumatic stress disorder explains additional variance in examination-related distress and pain above that accounted for by exposure to sexual violence.We employed a cross-sectional cohort design in which 67 selected female veterans completed self-administered questionnaires to assess history of sexual violence and experiences of distress and pain associated with the pelvic examination. A subsample of 49 completed an assessment for posttraumatic stress disorder approximately 2 weeks later.Distress associated with the pelvic examination was highest for women with prior sexual violence and posttraumatic stress disorder (median 5.49), next highest for women with sexual violence only (median 2.44), and lowest for women with neither (median 0), P=.015. Higher ratings of pain were also found among women with sexual violence (median 2.5) compared with those without (median 0), P=.04. However, posttraumatic stress disorder was not linked with increased pain from speculum insertion beyond that accounted for by sexual violence; limited power may have precluded detection of this effect.Distress and pain during pelvic examinations may indicate a history of previous sexual violence, particularly in those with posttraumatic stress disorder. Extra sensitivity to the special needs of this population is warranted and may contribute positively to the quality of patients' experiences.II.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000261316200022

    View details for PubMedID 19037045

  • Impact of clinician gender on examination anxiety among female veterans with sexual trauma: A pilot study JOURNAL OF WOMENS HEALTH Lee, T. T., Westrup, D. A., Ruzek, J. I., Keller, J., Weitlauf, J. C. 2007; 16 (9): 1291-1299


    The sequelae of sexual trauma, including symptoms or diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), may impact women's anxiety and avoidance of preventive healthcare measures such as breast, pelvic, and rectal examinations. As sexual trauma is unfortunately a common occurrence among female patients, particularly veterans, understanding how it influences examination-related distress may improve provision of care to this population. We explored the impact of clinician gender and examination type (breast, pelvic, rectal, and dental) on anticipated examination-related anxiety among women veterans with a history of sexual trauma.We present a cross-sectional pilot study that examines anticipated examination-related distress among 31 female veterans with a history of sexual trauma. Sexual trauma history was verified by chart review. Self-report instruments assessed patient demographics and patients' anticipated anxiety during breast, pelvic, rectal, and dental examinations (stratified by gender of clinician). The PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C) assessed symptom severity.The women reported significantly more anticipated anxiety during breast, pelvic, and rectal examinations, (p < 0.05) when clinician gender was male. Severity of PTSD symptoms was generally unrelated to anticipated examination-related anxiety.Anticipated anxiety was found to be a function of both examination type and clinician gender but not of PTSD symptom severity. These findings emphasize the importance of screening for sexual trauma and the careful consideration of female veterans' unique needs during sensitive medical procedures.

    View details for DOI 10.1089/jwh.2006.0208

    View details for Web of Science ID 000251174900006

    View details for PubMedID 18001185

  • Empirically assessing participant perceptions of the research experience in a randomized clinical trial: The Women's Self-Defense Project as a case example JOURNAL OF EMPIRICAL RESEARCH ON HUMAN RESEARCH ETHICS Weitlauf, J. C., Ruzek, J. I., Westrup, D. A., Lee, T., Keller, J. 2007; 2 (2): 11-23


    A growing body of empirical literature has systematically documented the reactions to research participation among participants in traumafocused research. To date, the available data has generally presented an optimistic picture regarding participants' ability to tolerate and even find benefit from their participation. However, this literature has been largely limited to cross-sectional designs. No extant literature has yet examined the perceptions of participants with psychiatric illness who are participating in randomized clinical trials (RCTs) designed to evaluate the efficacy or effectiveness of novel trauma treatments. The authors posit that negative experiences of, or poor reactions to, the research experience in the context of a trauma-focused RCT may elevate the risk of participation. Indeed, negative reactions may threaten to undermine the potential therapeutic gains of participants and promoting early drop out from the trial. Empirically assessing reactions to research participation at the pilot-study phase of a clinical trial can both provide investigators and IRB members alike with empirical evidence of some likely risks of participation. In turn, this information can be used to help shape the design and recruitment methodology of the full-scale trial. Using data from the pilot study of the Women's Self-Defense Project as a case illustration, we provide readers with concrete suggestions for empirically assessing participants' perceptions of risk involved in their participation in behaviorally oriented clinical trials.

    View details for DOI 10.1525/JERHRE.2007.2.2.11

    View details for Web of Science ID 000256385200002

    View details for PubMedID 19385792

  • Assessment of trauma exposure and post-traumatic stress in long-term care veterans: Preliminary data on psychometrics and post-traumatic stress disorder prevalence MILITARY MEDICINE Cook, J. M., Elhai, J. D., Cassidy, E. L., Ruzek, J. I., Ram, G. D., Sheikh, J. I. 2005; 170 (10): 862-866


    This article reports preliminary data on trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) prevalence, as well as test psychometrics, among 35 cognitively intact veterans residing in long-term care settings. Participants received a traumatic event screening, the Mini-Mental Status Examination, Combat Exposure Scale (CES), PTSD Checklist (PCL), and Mississippi Combat PTSD Scale (M-PTSD). Results demonstrated adequate reliability for the CES, PCL, and M-PTSD for use in these settings, with several significant intercorrelations. A high prevalence of trauma exposure was found, in particular combat. Based on the PCL and M-PTSD, although most veterans did not meet full PTSD diagnostic criteria, a moderate proportion met partial criteria. The need for assessment and treatment of trauma exposure and PTSD in Veterans Affairs long-term care settings is emphasized.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000235831900011

    View details for PubMedID 16435760