PTSD, treatment of �moral injuries� central focus of two-day conference
Posted on March 18, 2014
Since 2001, more than 2.2 million men and women have served in the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to statistics from the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than a quarter of a million of those troops have been seen by VA doctors for treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, better known as PTSD.
The numbers show the impact of PTSD on modern American troops and advances in medical and scientific knowledge have helped experts become aware of the significant numbers of veterans returning home with a variety of physical, psychological and moral injuries.
With this impact to our service members in mind, the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University and the Michigan Combat PTSD Task Force have gathered some of the foremost experts in the nation on the topics of PTSD and moral injury to take part in an in-depth, two-day discussion that will focus on promoting the understanding of Traumatic Brain Injury, Post Traumatic Stress Injury/Disorder, and Moral Injury.
“The Hidden Wounds of War — A Community Response” will take place March 28 and 29 on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus of Grand Valley State University.
Seminar discussions will serve to clarify the roles of physicians, social workers, psychologists and clergy in helping returning veterans. Other topics will include identifying community resources, establishing a solid community referral network to specifically treat combat-related TBI, PTSD, and Moral Injuries, and identifying practical and effective strategies for treating our wounded veterans.
The event will kick off with a keynote address on March 28 at 7 p.m. from Dr. Jonathan Shay, a nationally known psychiatrist and author of “Achilles in Vietnam.”
Speakers will continue March 29, with Chaplain (Colonel) Herman Keizer, U.S. Army (Ret.), and Rita Nakashima Brock. Both speak on Moral Injuries, which experts say often leave sufferers with feelings of guilt and shame from destruction of life and property, actions that while perhaps intellectually understood in a theater of war, can leave moral and emotional scars.
In the afternoon Stephen N. Xenakis, psychiatrist, retired Brigadier General, and former Commander of the Southeast Regional Army Medical Command, will speak on TBI and PTSD.
Two panel discussions will provide an opportunity for community providers to coordinate efforts and work toward building a solid network for the future.
“Our veterans deserve all the support that we can give them,” said Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center, “Many go through a painful private odyssey, not unlike the tortuous one that Homer wrote about following the Trojan War. We are proud to partner with Col. Herm Keizer, Dr. Michael Ryan, and other members of the Michigan Combat PTSD Task Force to raise awareness of the moral injuries of war and bring our community together on behalf of veterans who are struggling to reintegrate into their families and society.”
For more information and to register for the conference, visit hauensteincenter.org/RSVP.