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Newsletter | Spring 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.


Dr. Terri Fletcher
Dr. Terri Fletcher

Dr. Terri Fletcher Selected Chief of Behavioral Health Program at IQUEST

Congratulations to Dr. Terri Fletcher on being selected as the next Chief, Behavioral Health Program for the Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety (IQuESt).

Dr. Jeffery Cully
Dr. Jeffery Cully.

Dr. Jeffery Cully Received Don Wagner Award

Congratulations to Dr. Jeff Cully and the MyBrief CBT team on receiving the 4th Annual General Don Wagner Award. Criteria for this award includes (1) research projects that started at IQuESt and spread to at least one other facility, (2) aligned with IQuESt mission, and (3) sustained after funding ended. MyBrief CBT began as a research project at IQuESt and is now used in 11 VISNs and over 90 VA facilities.

Brandon Shanahan and Dr. Patricia Chen
Brandon Shanahan and Dr. Patricia Chen.

Affiliates Win Poster Session

Mr. Brandon Shanahan and Dr. Patricia Chen were staff winners of the 2024 Annual Health Professions Education Day poster session. The event featured educational and quality improvement projects. Mr. Shanahan’s posters highlighted the STORES secure storage with Veterans project needs assessment and the project’s development and dissemination. Dr. Chen’s poster highlighted interview findings of combat Veterans who had recently participated in CreatiVets—a community based art immersion program hosted by the Glassell School of Art.

Dr. Kathryn Kanzler, Dr. Mackenzie Shanahan, and Brandon Shanahan
Dr. Kathryn Kanzler (left), Dr. Mackenzie Shanahan (center), and Mr. Brandon Shanahan at the 45th Annual Society of Behavioral Medicine Conference.

Affiliates Attend ASBM Conference

Dr. Kathryn Kanzler, Dr. Mackenzie Shanahan, and Mr. Brandon Shanahan attended the 45th Annual Society of Behavioral Medicine conference. Drs. Kanzler and Shanahan presented their work as part of a symposium titled “Reaching Patients with Chronic Conditions: Utilizing Novel Treatment Delivery Formats of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.” Mr. Shanahan received the Outstanding Abstract Award from the Military and Veteran Health Special Interest Group for his abstract titled “Identifying Barriers to Anxiety Diagnostic Specificity in VHA Using the Safer Dx Framework.”

Little Rock

Dr. Ellen Fischer.
Dr. Ellen Fischer

Dr. Ellen Fischer Retires

Farewell to Dr. Ellen Fischer, our former Assistant Director for Research. She was celebrated by colleagues from MIRECC, the Center for Mental Health and Outcomes Research, and Behavioral Health QUERI for her contributions to the centers and impact on individuals’ lives and careers.

Little Rock team meets with SC MIRECC directors for lunch and dinner.
Left: Dale Perkins, Penny White, Kristin Ward, Dr. Jan Lindsay, and Ashley McDaniel. Right: Drs. Rick Owen, Dr. Jan Lindsay, Dr. Ellen Fischer, Dr. Mark Kunik, Kristin Ward, and Dr. Carolyn Greene.

Directors In Little Rock for Site Visit

Drs. Mark Kunik and Jan Lindsay were in town for meetings with colleagues and the Little Rock administrative team.

New Orleans

Dr. Gala True
Dr. Gala True.

Dr. Gala True Named Endowed Professor and Starts New Grant

Congratulations to Dr. Gala True who was named the Richard A. Culbertson and Susan A. Leary Endowed Professor of Medicine at Louisiana State University (LSU) Health Sciences Center - New Orleans. Dr. True is also site PI and Co-Investigator on HSR funded SDR 22-148-2, “Incentivizing Lethal Means Safety Among Veterans at Risk for Suicide” (PI: Khazanov).

New In Press Publications

    • Houtsma, C., Raines, A. M., Kerbrat, A. H., & True, G. (in press). Feasibility and acceptability of Caring Contacts texts for suicide prevention among veterans recently separated from military service. Psychological Services.
    • Ennis, C. R., Raines, A. M., Boffa, J. W., Shapiro, M. O., Dornbach-Bender, A., Ferrie, M. L., Fondren, A. H., Vidaurri, D. N., Walton, J. L., Chambliss, J. L., & Franklin, C. L. (in press). Massed Written Exposure Therapy Delivered to Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms on an Acute Inpatient Mental Health Unit. Journal of Traumatic Stress.
    • 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.
    • Raines, A. M., Clauss, K., Seidler, D., Allan, N. P., Elhai, J. D., Vasterling J. J., Constans, J. I., Maieritsch, K. P., & Franklin, C. L. (in press). A Bifactor Evaluation of Self-Report and Clinician-Administered Measures of PTSD in Veterans. Assessment.
    • Boffa, J. W., Ennis, C. R., Raines, A. M., Stecker, T., & Beckham, J. C. (in press). Indirect Effects of PTSD Symptoms on Suicide Capability through Intrapersonal Functions of Nonsuicidal Self-Injury. Traumatology.

Last updated: April 17, 2024