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Newsletter | Summer 2023 Article 7 | South Central MIRECC

Highlights from Our Anchor Sites

Our affiliates in Houston, Little Rock, New Orleans, and VISN 17 work hard to promote mental health education, research, and treatment locally and nationally. Here are some highlights of their accomplishments over the past three months.


Dr. Derrecka Boykin
Dr. Derrecka Boykin.

Dr. Derrecka Boykin Selected as a 2023-2025 ABCT CHANGE Leader

Dr. Boykin was selected as a 2023-2025 Association for Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies (ABCT) CHANGE (Challenging How ABCT Now Governs and Evolves) Leader. This is a new program aimed at engaging early career professionals, diverse scholars, and advanced students in a two-year co-governance activity with assigned leadership sponsors while ABCT takes active steps to broaden and improve the diversity, equity, inclusion, access and justice focus of its work. Dr. Boykin was one of 10 out of 48 applicants selected!

Drs. Darius Dawson and Terri Fletcher
Drs. Darius Dawson and Terri Fletcher

Drs. Darius Dawson and Terri Fletcher Included in Special Collection Issue on Improving Care for Veterans Through Health Equity Research

Drs. Dawson and Fletcher coauthored a perspective article on developing future VA scientists through a diversity, equity and inclusion program in Health Equity. They discuss the impact of using the VA Office of Research and Development Research Supplements to Promote Collaborations to Enhance Diversity in VA Research to maximize the impacts of their research for racially minoritized Veterans accessing tobacco cessation treatment and for Veterans accessing evidence-based treatments for anxiety.

Dr. Abdualla Ben Ammer
Dr. Abdualla Ben Ammer

Dr. Abdualla Ben Ammer Presents Poster on Cultural Humility and Microaggressions

Dr. Ben Ammer presented a poster on the training workshop “Two Sides of the Same Coin: Cultural Humility and Addressing Microaggressions and Discriminatory Requests.” This workshop, completed with Drs. Jenn Bryan, Joshua Hamer and Ali Abbas Asghar-Ali, improved physician assistant students’ knowledge and attitudes about cultural humility and responding to microaggressions and discriminatory requests.

Dr. Mark Kunik
Dr. Mark Kunik accepts award from colleagues.

Dr. Mark Kunik Receives Outstanding Educator in Geriatric Psychiatry Award

Congratulations to Dr. Kunik for receiving an award for his contributions to geriatric psychiatry education at the Baylor College of Medicine Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Little Rock

Dr. Robert Bossarte
Dr. Robert Bossarte.

Dr. Robert Bossarte Joins South Central MIRECC

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Bossarte to the South Central MIRECC and the HSR&D Center for Mental Health Outcomes Research. Dr. Bossarte is an expert in suicide prevention research and joins us from the VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention.

Drs. Monica Matthieu and Angie Waliski
Drs. Monica Matthieu and Angie Waliski

Drs. Monica Matthieu and Angie Waliski Hosted HSR&D Field Based Meeting on Suicide Prevention

Drs. Matthieu and Waliski and their team hosted the “Convening Meeting of VA ORD Suicide Prevention Investigators and Program Leaders to Identify Gaps Between Community Engaged Practice and Research.” The conference brought together representatives of multiple VA programs that address suicide prevention to identify gaps in current efforts for suicide prevention across public and private sectors, discuss identified gaps, and make recommendations for a coordinated collaborative approach to translating evidence based and promising practices. It also focused on translating this work from VA to the public and private sectors via community-engaged strategies.

Drs. Brandon Griffin, Marcela Weber, Kent Hinkson, Jeff Pyne, and Michael Cucciare

Affiliates Publish Moral Injury Scoping Review

Drs. Brandon Griffin, Marcela Weber, Kent Hinkson, Jeff Pyne, and Michael Cucciare published an open-access scoping review of 185 studies on moral injury among healthcare workers in Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry.

New Orleans

Dr. Gala True
Dr. Gala True

Dr. Gala True Part of Newly Funded Study on Lethal Means Safety

Dr. True is a co-investigator and site principal investigator on the newly funded HSR&D study “Incentivizing Lethal Means Safety Among Veterans at Risk for Suicide” with Dr. Gabriela Khazanov (principal investigator).

Last updated: July 25, 2023