Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.


Quick Links
Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge

Participate in Research


CESAMH at the San Diego VA hospital conducts research on various topics in mental health. The following are a list of studies that are currently enrolling veterans for participation.

PTSD and Trauma

Comparative Effectiveness of Trauma-Focused and Non-Trauma-Focused Treatment Strategies for PTSD among Those with Co-Occurring SUD (COMPASS)

Brief Description: The purpose of this study is to compare the effectiveness of trauma focused treatment (Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure Therapy) to non-trauma focused treatment (Present Centered Therapy) for Veterans with PTSD and a substance use disorder. All participants receive 12 sessions of individual Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure Therapy or Present Centered Therapy. Appointments are remote (via telehealth).
Compensation: Up to $425 compensation for completing assessments. All study psychotherapy appointments are free to participants.
Funding Source: Patient Centered Outcomes Institute (PCORI)
Study Coordinator contact information: Kaitlyn Panza by phone at (858) 552-8585 x2562 and/or tag in CPRS

Identifying integrated circuit mechanisms of PTSD: Multimodal
neuroimaging fusion of fear inhibition and cognitive control.

Brief Description: This study investigates the effect of trauma-related stress on brain
functioning measures of cognition and emotion. We are interested in assessing brain
activity in individuals who have experienced a stressful event and either have or do not
have PTSD.
To participate, you must:
Be a Veteran aged 21-55
Experienced a traumatic or stressful event
Be safe for MRI (e.g. have no metal in your body)
This study includes:
Two visits to the VA San Diego Healthcare System that lasts approximately 3-4
hours each visit
Cognitive tasks and an MRI scan at each visit
Funding Source: VA San Diego Healthcare System
Study Coordinator Contact Information: Bruna Cuccurazzu, Ph.D.: 858-552-8585 x

Peripheral and Central Nervous System Inflammation Associated with
Military Sexual Trauma and PTSD.

Brief Description: This study explores how the brain’s immune response may be linked
to trauma disorder development, including PTSD, especially among female Veterans who
have experienced military sexual trauma (MST).
To participate, you must:
Be a female Veteran aged 21-55
Have experienced a traumatic event
This study includes:
1-3 visits to the La Jolla VA (2nd floor) that last approximately 2 hours each visit
Answer some questions about your current mental and physical health
Supply a blood and urine sample
Compensation: Up to $240 for your participation.
Funding Source: VA San Diego Healthcare System
Study Coordinator Contact Information: Bruna Cuccurazzu, Ph.D.: 858-552-8585 x

Biorepository to Collect and Store Specimens and Data on Veterans for
Use in Trauma-Related Research and Clinical Studies Relevant to the Center of
Excellence for Stress and Mental Health (CESAMH).

Brief Description: The biorepository will help researchers to find out more about the
biology of trauma and trauma related disorders.
Individuals may qualify for this study if they experienced a stressful event such as:
Combat deployment, Serious accident, Physical assault, Head injury, Natural disaster, or Other life-threating injury or illness
You DO NOT need to have a mental health diagnosis to participate.
In this study, you will be asked to:
Do 1-3 visits to the VA that last approximately 2 hours each visit at the La Jolla
VA (2nd floor)
Answer some questions about your current mental and physical health;
Supply a blood, urine and saliva sample.
Compensation: The total compensation is 260$: 70$ for each visit, plus a 50$ bonus you
complete all the 3 visits.
Funding Source: CESAMH
Study Coordinator Contact Information: Bruna Cuccurazzu, Ph.D.: 858-552-8585 x


Impact of Operational Sleep Disruption on PTSD-Relevant Fear
Learning Processes.

Brief Description: Investigators at the La Jolla VA Hospital are investigating how sleep
and disturbed sleep affects memory for unpleasant events. The study requires participants
to live in our sleep center for 4 consecutive nights and days. At night, participants’ sleep
will be monitored, and during the day participants will complete multiple learning and
memory tasks.
To qualify you must be:
18-39 years old
Sleep 7-9 hours a night with no diagnoses of sleep problems
No current physical or mental health diagnoses
Compensation: Participants will be compensated up to $800.
Funding Source: DoD
Study Coordinator Contact Information: Bruna Cuccurazzu, Ph.D.: 858-552-8585 x

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Long-Term Impact of Military-Relevant Brain Injury Consortium Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (LIMBIC-CENC)

Brief Description: VA/DOD sponsored research project is looking for Veterans and Service Members who have been deployed to participate in a study on the long-term effects of mild traumatic brain injuries. We are looking for those both with and without mTBI exposure.
Compensation: $120
Funding Source: Department of Defense
Study Coordinator Contact Information: Jillian Ory 858-552-8585 x 6375

Personalized, Augmented Cognitive Training (PACT) for Service Members and Veterans with a History of TBI

Brief Description: This study is about treatment of cognitive symptoms related to mild traumatic brain injury (mild TBI) for Service Members and Veterans with a history of TBI.
Compensation: Participants receive a payment of $50 for each of the three assessment sessions. Also, if they complete 80% or more of the weekly cognitive tests sent to their smartphone, they receive an additional $20. The maximum compensation for participating in the study is $170.
Funding Source: This study is being funded by the Department of Defense.
Study Coordinator Contact Information: Michelle Seewald (858) 255-4368

Cognitive Rehabilitation for Older Veterans with Mild Cognitive Impairment

Brief Description: The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a cognitive rehabilitation group treatment for Veterans age 55 or older with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Participants will be randomized to receive Motivationally Enhanced Compensatory Cognitive Training (ME-CCT), focused on cognitive strategies, lifestyle strategies, and motivational enhancement, or training in short- and long-term goal setting. Both groups will be provided two-hour therapist-led sessions once weekly for eight weeks. Researchers will evaluate whether ME-CCT improves cognitive performance, functional capacity, and concerns about cognition. They also will measure the extent to which ME-CCT helps participants change eating, exercise, and other behaviors associated with reduced risk for MCI.
Compensation: $225 total
Funding Source: VA CSRD Merit
Study Coordinator Contact Information: Hannah Lykins, BS / / 858-552-8585 x2790


Complimentary and Integrative Approaches

Mindful Action for Pain (MAP) : An Integrated Approach to Improve Chronic Pain Function

Name of Study: Mindful Action for Pain (MAP) : An Integrated Approach to Improve Chronic Pain Function
Brief Description: This study compares a novel mindfulness-based treatment for chronic pain, MAP, to traditional cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for chronic pain. Population: Veterans with chronic pain
Compensation: $120
Funding Source: VA Rehabilitation R&D
Study Coordinator Contact Information: Jen Salamat; 858-552-8585 ext 5596;

Mindful Prehabilitation Training (MPT)

Name of Study: Mindful Prehabilitation Training (MPT)
Brief Description: This study consists of an app-based text intervention based on acceptance and commitment therapy principles and mindfulness practice to decrease presurgical anxiety and improve postsurgical outcomes. Population: Veterans scheduled for total knee replacement or total hip replacement at the VA.
Compensation: No compensation
Funding Source: CESAMH
Study Coordinator Contact Information: Gage Chu; 858-642-1459;

Efficacy of Mind-Body Approaches for the Treatment of Chronic Pain with Psychological Comorbidity

Brief Description: The CM for CP+ study is a randomized controlled trial comparing two mind-body interventions for chronic pain with psychological comorbidity (PTSD and/or depression). All study activities, including eligibility assessment/consenting, pre-, mid-, and posttreatment assessments, a total of 5 assessment virtual appointments, and 10, 90-minute group intervention meetings will be conducted via telehealth.
Compensation: $300 total ($50 for participation at each of the five assessment visits and a one-time bonus compensation of $50, for a total of $300 for completing all)
Funding Source: VA-funded
Study Coordinator contact information: For VA providers, if you encounter Veterans you believe would be a good fit for the study, alert study PI, Anne Malaktaris, and our study coordinator, Edith Bonilla, in your CPRS notes, please be sure to note that “Veteran gave verbal consent to be contacted by study staff for more information”. For more information or for Veteran self-referral, contact Study PI: Anne Malaktaris: 858-642-3794,; Edith Bonilla: 619-861-7656,; Study Cell: 619-228-3943