UT Health Science Center Professor Receives Grant for Research of Veterans’ Mental Health Care Needs
June 1, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas – Dr. Laurel Copeland, an assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, is one of 10 tenure-track faculty members in Texas to receive research grants totaling $150,000 from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.
The one-year grants are capped at $15,000 each. The foundation received 35 proposals from faculty at 16 colleges and universities in Texas.
Copeland will examine mental health care preferences of 3,200 South Texas veterans who recently returned from Iraq or Afghanistan.
“The lives of these men and women have been placed at risk on behalf of the United States, and many of them have experienced unimaginable trauma and stress as a result of their military service. In return, they deserve mental health services and supports that are accessible, affordable and effective,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the foundation.
Copeland noted in her proposal that many of these veterans experienced combat and violent, lengthy and repeated tours of duty, and need counseling for acute stress reactions, anxiety, substance use, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. However, mental health services in South Texas are scarce, so providing care efficiently and effectively is critical.
“Local Veterans Affairs providers want to know what kinds of care new veterans prefer, and whether their preferences vary by factors such as ethnicity and gender,” Copeland said. “This study will determine what characteristics of mental health care are associated with the best outcomes for our newest veterans.”
Dr. Copeland, an assistant professor of psychiatry and a research health scientist in the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, studies the use of health services by people with serious mental illness.
The Hogg Foundation was founded in 1940 by the children of former Texas Governor James Hogg to promote improved mental health for the people of Texas. The foundation’s grants and programs support mental health consumer services, research, policy analysis and public education projects in Texas.