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VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention

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Marek S. Kopacz, M.D, Ph.D.
Researcher

Biography 

Publications 

Presentations 

Grants 

Marek S. Kopacz

Biography: Dr. Kopacz earned his M.D. in 2004 and Ph.D. in 2010 from Jagiellonian University Medical College (Krakow, Poland). During this time he also undertook graduate-level training in public health research, international community health, and sustainable human development. His field of expertise is medical sociology. He has applied and developed his research skills in public health and business settings. Dr. Kopacz joined the VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention in 2012.

Research Interests: Dr. Kopacz’s general research interests include examining the crossroads between spirituality, religion, and suicidal behavior. His work aims to inform suicide prevention efforts by identifying opportunities for enhancing spiritual and religious well-being – a known protective factor against suicide – in at-risk populations. Some of the projects undertaken by Dr. Kopacz have involved (1) more effectively conceptualizing spirituality and religion as a protective factor, (2) understanding the contribution of chaplains to suicide prevention efforts, (3) analyzing the spiritual and religious characteristics of at-risk Veterans, and (4) examining how different measures of spiritual functioning affect suicide risk. He actively collaborates with a variety of institutions and organizations, both in- and outside the VA, such as the National Center for PTSD and VA/DoD Integrated Mental Health Strategy.

Recent Publications:

Kopacz, M. S., Rasmussen, K., Searle, R. F., Wozniak, B. M., & Titus, C. E. (in press). Alleviating guilt in veterans at increased risk of suicide: An opportunity for collaboration with chaplains? Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine.

Kopacz, M. S., McCarten, J., Vance, C. G., & Connery, A. (in press). A preliminary study for exploring different sources of guilt in a sample of Veterans who sought chaplaincy services. Military Psychology.

Kopacz, M. S., & Connery, A. L. (in press). The veteran spiritual struggle (invited commentary). Spirituality in Clinical Practice.

Kopacz, M. S. (in press). Spirituality and suicide prevention: Charting a course for research and clinical practice (invited commentary). Spirituality in Clinical Practice.

Kopacz, M. S., Currier, J. M., Drescher, K., & Pigeon, W. (in press). Suicidal behavior and spiritual functioning in a sample of veterans diagnosed with PTSD. Journal of Injury and Violence Research, 8(1).

Kopacz, M. S., Nieuwsma, J., Jackson, G. L., Rhodes, J. E., Cantrell, W. C., Bates, M. J., & Meador, K. G. (2015). Chaplains’ engagement with suicidality among their service users: Findings from the VA/DoD Integrated Mental Health Strategy. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. Advance online publication, 10 Aug 2015.

Kopacz, M. S., & Pollitt, M. J. (2015). Delivering chaplaincy services to veterans at increased risk of suicide. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 21(1), 1-13.

Kopacz, M. S., Simons, K. V., & Chitaphong, K. (2015). Moral injury: an emerging clinical construct with implications for social work education. Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work, 34(3), 252-264.

Kopacz, M. S., Hoffmire, C., Morley, S. W., & Vance, C. G. (2015). Using a Spiritual Distress Scale to assess suicide risk in veterans: an exploratory study. Pastoral Psychology, 64, 381-391.

Kopacz, M. S., & Karras, E. (2015). Student service members and Veterans who access pastoral care for the purposes of mental health support. Journal of American College Health, 63(7), 496-501. 

Blosnich, J., Kopacz, M. S., McCarten, J., & Bossarte, R. M. (2015). Mental health and self-directed violence among student service members/veterans in postsecondary education. Journal of American College Health, 63(7), 418-426.

Kopacz, M. S. (2014). Moral injury: A war trauma affecting current and former military personnel. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 60(7), 722-723.

Kopacz, M. S., O’Reilly, L. M., Van Inwagen, C. C., Bleck-Doran, T. L., Smith, W. D., & Cornell, N. (2014). Understanding the role of chaplains in veteran suicide prevention efforts: A discussion paper. Sage Open, 4, 1-10.

Kopacz, M. S., & Karras, E. (2014). Student service members and Veterans who access pastoral care for the purposes of mental health support. Journal of American College Health, published online ahead of print May 21, 2014. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2014.923430

Kopacz, M. S., McCarten, J. M., & Pollitt, M. (2014). VHA Chaplaincy contact with veterans at increased risk of suicide. Southern Medical Journal, 107(10), 661-664.

Kopacz, M. S., & Karras, E. (2014). Student service members and Veterans who access pastoral care for the purposes of mental health support. Journal of American College Health, published online ahead of print May 21, 2014.

Blosnich, J, Kopacz, M. S., McCarten, J, & Bossarte, R. M. (2014). Mental health and self-directed violence among student service members/veterans in postsecondary education. Journal of American College Health, published online ahead of print June 11, 2014.

Kopacz, M. S. (2014). The spiritual health of veterans with a history of suicide ideation. Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, 2(1)349-358.

Kopacz, M. S., Silver, E., & Bossarte, R. M. (2014). A position article for applying spirituality to suicide prevention. Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health, 16(2), 133-146.

Kopacz, M. S. (2013). Providing pastoral care services in a clinical setting to veterans at-risk of suicide. Journal of Religion and Health, 52(3), 759-767.

Recent Presentations:

Kopacz, M. S., Wojcio, S., & Wozniak, B. (2015, April). Religious well-being and suicide ideation in veterans: An exploratory study. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Suicidology, Atlanta, GA.

Kopacz, M. S., Currier, J., Drescher, K., & Pigeon, W. (2015, January). Suicidal behavior and spiritual functioning in a sample of Veterans diagnosed with PTSD. Paper presented at the annual VA/DoD Suicide Prevention Conference, Dallas, TX.

Bryan, C. J., Bryan, B. O., Kopacz, M. S., Hernandez, A. M., and Clemans, T. A. (2014). “I can never be forgiven”: Moral injury, suicidal thoughts, and suicidal behaviors. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Suicidology, Los Angeles, CA.

Kopacz, M. S., McCarten, J. M., & Karras E. (2014). An exploration of sources of negative emotion among Veterans reporting suicidal ideation. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Suicidology, Los Angeles, CA.

Kopacz, M. S., Britton, P., Stephens, B., and Bossarte, R. M. (2013). Differences between two cohorts of veterans crisis line callers: Veterans with and without a history of veterans health administration care. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association, Boston, MA.

Recent Grants:

Dr. Kopacz is currently applying for research grants.

 

 

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