Newswise — Seeking to further enhance mental health services for veterans and their families, the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic (MFC) at NYU Langone and VA New York Harbor Healthcare System (VANYHHS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding formalizing the existing partnership between the two organizations.

The MOU acknowledges what had been in practice since NYU Langone established its MFC in 2012: The two organizations will continue to assist each other in treating mental health issues for veterans and their families.

VANYHHS will continue to refer veterans and their families to the MFC, a program that provides short-term mental health care at no cost as well as services including children, couples/partner and family therapy, for which there is limited access through VANYHHS.

In turn, the MFC will continue to refer veterans to VANYHHS facilities for treatment for additional mental health care as well as for other health care needs. In addition, the MFC encourages veterans who have not yet enrolled with VANYHHS to do so in order to more fully utilize VA benefits to which they are entitled.

Nearly one-third of the 15,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who live in the New York City area are troubled by PTSD and other mental health challenges, including depression, alcohol abuse, drug addiction and family conflict. It is why all clinicians involved in this partnership agree it is critically important to make mental health services available as quickly as possible.

“We are very excited to formalize what has been in practice for several years now,” says Adam Wolkin, MD, Associate Chief of Staff for mental health for VANYHHS and Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Psychiatry at NYU Langone. “The MFC has been a valuable partner in meeting the growing demand for mental health services for our veterans and their families. This agreement is very much in keeping with the commitment of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to advance public–private clinical partnerships.”

The MFC addresses mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression, anxiety, alcohol and substance abuse, relationship and family conflict and other issues common among veterans and military families.

“The referral partnership with VANYHHS provides our veterans additional follow-up care for specific mental health issues beyond the scope of the treatments that we provide,” says Amanda Spray, PhD, Assistant Director of the MFC. “VANYHHS also is critically important for our patients who qualify for VA benefits who have non-mental health issues, or whose underlying medical conditions complicate their mental health status.”

NYU Langone and VANYHHS have had a longstanding affiliation for decades. Most of the physicians who practice at VANYHHS’s Manhattan facility hold academic appointments at NYU School of Medicine, and several NYU Langone researchers maintain laboratories at the VA’s Manhattan campus, which is a short distance from NYU Langone’s main hospital campus. VA’s Manhattan campus also serves as a major teaching partner for NYU Langone medical students, residents and fellows.

About the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Veterans Center at NYU Langone and the Steven A. Cohen Military Family ClinicThe Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic is a principal component of the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Veterans Center at NYU Langone. The Clinic has treated more than 1,100 active military, veterans and their families at no cost and regardless of discharge status since its opening. The Cohen Veterans Center at NYU Langone also includes a vast research arm, where studies are underway including those seeking to define definitive, objective biomarkers for PTSD, TBI and related issues. The MFC also is a member of the Cohen Veterans Network (CVN), a nationwide partnership of free, outpatient mental health facilities providing high-quality, accessible and integrated mental health care. The MFC at NYU Langone served as the model for other clinics in the CVN, which plans to sponsor a total of 25 clinics nationwide within the next five years.

About VA New York Harbor Healthcare SystemVA New York Harbor Healthcare System (VANYHHS) is committed to providing outstanding health care and social services to the men and women who have so proudly served our nation. VANYHHS consists of two tertiary care medical centers located in Manhattan and Brooklyn and a Community Living Center located in St. Albans, Queens. VANYHHS also operates two community based clinics situated in Harlem and Staten Island which serve New York, Kings, Queens and Richmond Counties. VANYHHS is a part of the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN 2), which includes facilities throughout New York State and northern New Jersey.

Media Inquiries:Stacey HarrisSteven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at NYU Langone(917) 697-7746[email protected]

Claudie BenjaminPublic Affairs SpecialistVA NY Harbor Healthcare System(212) 686-7500, ext. 4619[email protected]