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Newsletter | Winter 2024 Article 5 | 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.


 Drs. Darius Dawson, Terri Fletcher, Molly Horstman, Natalie Hundt, Kathryn Kanzler, and Maribel Plasencia.
Top row left: Drs. Darius Dawson, Terri Fletcher, and Molly Horstman. Bottom row left: Natalie Hundt, Kathryn Kanzler, and Maribel Plasencia.

Affiliates Receive Grant Funding and Honors

Congratulations to affiliates in Houston for the following accomplishments:

  • Dr. Darius Dawson received a funding notice for his HSR&D Career Development Award, “Addressing Health Equity in Tobacco Cessation Treatment for Historically Underrepresented Veterans.”
  • Dr. Terri Fletcher received a Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) Norton Rose Fulbright Faculty Excellence Award in the category of Educational Research.
  • Dr. Molly Horstman received a BCM Norton Rose Fulbright Faculty Excellence Award in the category of Educational Research.
  • Dr. Kathryn Kanzler has been awarded the 2023 Institute for Integration of Medicine & Science (IIMS) Community Engagement Hero Award for Outstanding Researcher. Dr. Kanzler was also nominated as a Wingspread Honoree in the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association (CFHA) for her contributions to the field of integrated care.
  • Dr. Maribel Plasencia received an RR&D Diversity Supplement, “Exposure and Response Prevention to Improve Functioning in Veterans with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.”

Little Rock

Drs. Jeffrey Pyne, Marcela (Marci) Weber, Brandon Griffin, and Kent Hinkson, Jr.
Left: Drs. Jeffrey Pyne and Marcela (Marci) Weber. Right: Drs. Jeffrey Pyne, Marcela (Marci) Weber, Brandon Griffin, and Kent Hinkson, Jr.

Dr. Marcela (Marci) Weber Completes MIRECC Advanced Fellowship

Congratulations to Dr. Weber for completing the MIRECC Advanced Fellowship in Mental Illness and Treatment. Dr. Weber joined the faculty of the VA Center of Innovation Center for Mental Health Outcomes and Research in Little Rock and is an affiliate with SC MIRECC.

Dr. Rajinder (Sonia) Singh
Dr. Rajinder (Sonia) Singh gives a presentation at the ABCT annual meeting.

Dr. Rajinder (Sonia) Singh presented at ABCT

Dr. Singh presented on Veteran and provider experiences and needs as it relates to implementing LGBTQ+ affirming care policy in VA at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.

New Orleans

Drs. Chelsea Ennis, Joseph (Jay) Boffa, Laurel Franklin, Claire Houtsma, Amanda Raines, Mary Shapiro, and Gala True.
Top left: Drs. Chelsea Ennis, Joseph (Jay) Boffa, and Laurel Franklin. Middle left: Claire Houtsma, Amanda Raines, and Mary Shapiro. Bottom left: Gala True.

Affiliates Receive Honors and Promotions

Congratulations to affiliates at the New Orleans site for the following accomplishments:

New Affiliate

  • Dr. Mara Ferrie joined as a new SC MIRECC affiliate at Southeast Louisiana Veterans Healthcare System.

New In Press Publications

    • Ferrie, M. L., Lheureux, A., Vujanovic, A. A., Zvolensky, M. J., & Raines, A. M. (in press). Co-occurring Posttraumatic Stress Disorder symptoms and alcohol use behaviors: The mediating role of drinking to cope with PTSD symptoms. Journal of Dual Diagnosis.
    • Raines, A. M., Macia, K. S., Tock, J. L., Houtsma, C., Herwehe, J., & Constans, J. I. (in press). Comparing the interactions of risk factors by method of suicide among Veterans: A moderated network analysis approach. Journal of Psychopathology and Clinical Science.
    • Raines, A. M., Clauss, K., Schafer, K. M., Shapiro, M. O., Houtsma, C., Boffa, J. W., Ennis, C. R., O’Neil, M. E., & Franklin, C. L. (in press). Cognitive Processing Therapy: A Meta-Analytic Review Among Veterans and Military Personnel. Cognitive Therapy and Research. Featured in the Clinician’s Trauma Update, 17(6).

The Armory Project Featured in VA National News Summary

The Armory Project, a VA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (OMHSP) funded program led by Drs. Gala True and Claire Houtsma that creates partnerships with local firearm retailers to provide temporary out-of-home firearm storage, was highlighted in a December VA News Brief. The original article, which ran in the Wall Street Journal, covered the role of gun shops as means to support suicide prevention and followed a Veteran who made the choice to temporarily store his firearms outside of his home. The original article can be accessed by subscribers at

Last updated: January 23, 2024