Center of Excellence Personnel - MIRECC / CoE
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
EBenefits Badge

Center of Excellence Personnel

 Tracy Stecker, Ph.D.

VA Appointment: Co-Research Director
Academic Affiliation: Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, Medical University of South Carolina

Elizabeth Karras, Ph.D.

Contact Info
(802) 299-6910 


Research Interests

Dr. Stecker is a psychologist and mental health services researcher who focuses on help-seeking behavior in individuals with mental illness.

She has received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop and test cognitive-behavioral interventions to increase mental health treatment seeking among military personnel returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and civilians, focusing on those with symptoms of PTSD, substance use, and suicidality.

Current Funding

10/18-10/22 National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism CBT by phone to promote the use of alcohol related care and reduce drinking. Co-PI
The goal of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral intervention to increase the uptake of alcohol treatment among indviduals with alcohol use disorders.
09/12-02/20 Department of Defense Increasing Treatment Seeking Among At-Risk Service Members Returning from Warzones. PI
The goal of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral intervention to increase behavioral health treatment seeking among military personnel at-risk for suicide.  
07/16-07/19 Department of Defense Testing Comorbid Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Use Disorders. Co-PI
The goal of this research is to evaluate the efficacy of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) on alcohol use disorders and PTSD severity among Veterans.  
10/16-9/20 National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism A Randomized Controlled Trial of N-Acetylcysteine for Alcohol Use Disorder and Comorid PTSD. Co-I
The goal of this research is to evaluated the efficacy of N-acetylcysteine on alcohol use disorders and comorbid PTSD.  
04/18-06/19 VA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Whole Health Implementation: Effect on functional improvement, reduction of opioid use, and factors associated with suicidal ideation. Co-I
This program will develop a strategic plan for the implementation of a Whole Health program for pain management for Veterans using prescription opioids.  
07/18-06/19 VA Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) Developing public messaging strategies to facilitate help seeking among veterans at risk for suicide. Co-I
The objective of this study is to identify the characteristics of effective messages that facilitate help seeking among Veterans at high risk for suicide. The specific aims are as follows: (1) examine Veteran perceptions of existing public messages designed to motivate help seeking behaviors among those at high risk for suicide; (2) identify message features that influence the likelihood for help seeking behaviors by Veterans during periods of crisis; and (3) explore facilitators and barriers of message use to identify dissemination methods that reflect Veterans’ preferences to effectively reach those at high risk for suicide. Individual interviews with Veteran patients with a recent non-fatal suicide attempt (N=40) will be conducted using an interview guide, which reflects the study’s conceptual framework (Elaboration Likelihood Model) focused on the mechanisms of persuasive communication. Results will inform the development of a trial to evaluate the impact of public messaging to motivate and facilitate changes among Veterans to seek help when they are in a crisis and at high risk for suicide.  

Past Funding

10/02-09/04 AHRQ The Arkansas Research Collaborative. Co-I & Associate Director
The purpose of this grant is develop the Arkansas Research Collaborative (ARC), designed to be the first statewide family medicine practice-based research network (PBRN) in Arkansas, and the only PBRN to reach the large rural population of the state.  
08/02-03/06 AAFP Improvement in the Outpatient Care of Adult Type Two Diabetic Patients through Use of Internet Based Strategies and Person to Person Health Educator Support Data Analysis
The goal is to provide optimal chronic and preventive care for diabetic patients through integrating Internet support with health education from an experienced health educator. The project has the following objectives: 1) improve preventive care compliance and disease surveillance in patients with diabetes. 2) improve functional status and sense of self-control and functional status. 3) improve physiological control of diabetes primarily measured through HgbA1c. 4) to sensitize patients to the importance of controlling related cardiovascular risk factors including hypertension and cholesterol levels.  
09/02-09/05 HRSA Family Practice Collaborative Research Network Co-I
This project will allow the DFPM to expand its health services research into community primary care practices. The specific objectives are: 1) Expand and re-organize the DFPM research activities around a family practice research network (PBRN). 2) Disseminate research results.  
07/03-09/04 DFPM Intramural Funds Psychoeducational Intervention to Destigmatize Mental Illness PI
This project investigated whether a psychoeducational script increased the likelihood that depressed individuals would initiate a psychotherapy session.  
06/06-12/06 VA QUERI Improving Access to and Quality of Mental Health Care for OIF/OEF Veterans PI
The goal of this study is to assess beliefs about mental health treatments among OIF Veterans.  
07/07-06/08 VA MH QUERI Co-occurring disorders among OIF/OEF Veterans: Prevelance and Service Uitlization PI
Determining the prevelance and service utilization co-occurring disorders among OIF/OEF Veterans.  
06/06-12/06 VA QUERI Post deployment assessment of behavioral health barriers in OIF Veterans. PI
The goal of this study is to assess beliefs about mental health treatments among OIF Veterans.  
07/09-06/12 NIMH Increasing PTSD Treatment Engagement among Returning OEF/OIF Veterans PI
The goal of this research is to evaulate the effectiveness of the intervention for increasing engagement to PTSD treatment services.  
01/08-09/09 NIMH Outreach Intervention for OIF Veterans to Promote Use of Mental Health Services. PI
The goal of this supplement is to assess the impact of multiple deployments on Veterans mental health.  
09/07-08/09 NIAAA Increasing Mechanisms of Changing Beliefs about Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorders PI
The goal of the proposed research is to articulate and specify the cognitive mechanisms underlying the decision to enter alcohol treatment.  
09/06-09/09 NIDA A Stage II Efficacy Study of CBT for PTSD in Community Addiction Treatment Co-I
Co-occurring substance use and psychiatric disorders are common in the general population, even more prevalent in clinical settings, and associated with negative treatment and life outcomes. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is among the most widespread of co-occurring disorders, vexing to clinicians, and a risk factor for attrition, relapse to drugs and alcohol, and deterioration in psychiatric symptoms. The proposal builds upon a series of Stage I studies by the PI, implementing a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for PTSD in addiction treatment programs.  
07/10-06/14 NIDA Integrated CBT for Co-Occurring PTSD and Substance Use Disorders Co-I
The goal of this study is to evaluate an integrated cognitive behavioral therapy (I-CBT) for co-occurring PTSD and substance use disorders among OEF/OIF veterans. I-CBT has been found efficacious in community samples of men and women with this comorbidity, but needs testing for its application to Veterans Affairs (VA) patient samples and settings. To enhance potential translation to VA clinical settings, the intervention has been adapted for delivery in combined individual and group therapy formats.  
07/13-12/14 Department of Veterans Affairs Increasing Engagement in Evidence-Based PTSD Therapy for Primary Care Veterans Co-I
The goal of this study is to test the feasibility of implementing a cognitive-behavioral intervention to improve behavioral health treatment seeking among VA patients seen in primary care settings.  
07/13-07/14 Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans' Care Access and Preferences for PTSD Treatment in the Community Consultant
Goals: 1) Compare demographic characteristics of OEF/OIF/OND Veterans with PTSD who report different patterns of PTSD care utilization: a) VA users; b) non-VA users; c) dual users; and d) non-users. 2) Compare PTSD care preferences, perceived access and perceived need for care among individuals with different patterns of PTSD care utilization; 3) Identify geographic factors such as proximity and density of PTSD care services associated with different patterns of PTSD care utilization.  
01/14-12/14 VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention Pathways for Vets: An online intervention to increase treatment utilization. PI
The goal of this study is to develop and conduct preliminary testing on an online CBT intervention designed to improve mental health treatment utilization.  
07/14-07/15 Department of Veterans Affairs, QUERI RRP Community-Based Care among OEF/OIF/OND Veterans with PTSD Consultant
The goal of this project is to assess attitudes toward evidence-based PTSD treatments among community providers treating Veterans with PTSD.  
02/14-02/16 Department of Veterans Affairs, HSR&D IIR-298 Increasing Treatment Seeking Among Suicidal Veteras Calling the Crisis Line PI
The goal of this trial is to pilot test the cognitive-behavioral intervention among suicidal veterans calling the VA’s National Crisis Line.  
07/12-06/15 Department of Veterans Affairs, CSR&D CBT for PTSD in Veterans with Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders Consultant
The goal of this application is to evaluate the effectiveness of CBT for PTSD in VA patients seen in specialty substance use clinics.