Newswise — Bethesda, Md. - To ensure future behavioral health providers are prepared to practice in military treatment facilities and in the combat theater of operations, the Uniformed Services University’s (USU) Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP) commissioned a RAND report to capture lessons learned over a decade of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The report, published March 15, includes interviews with 17 health experts about the significant changes in the provision and delivery of behavioral health care in the U.S. military between 2003 and 2013 resulting from the significant increase in behavioral health demands arising out of the longstanding wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during that time.

RAND, a global non-profit research organization, examined how the military health system responded to the mental health demands of service members during operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and outlined which actions worked and which did not. Further, they identified lessons that should be carried forward to prepare providers and the health system for future wartime needs.

“By capturing these lessons learned, the report establishes the groundwork for future investigation into major policy shifts and impacts on practice,” said Dr. William Brim, CDP director.

“Much has been learned as we worked to evaluate and care for the psychological injuries arising from more than a decade of sustained combat operations,” Dr. David Riggs, executive director of the CDP, added. “We hope that this report plays a significant part in retaining those lessons so we are better prepared to prevent and treat such injuries in the future.”

In addition to the report, CDP selected a number of key events from the decade of war that they highlighted and used to construct an interactive timeline housed on the CDP website. The timeline features significant operational events, policy changes, research endeavors, as well as behavioral health-related milestones from that decade. A brief summary of each event is provided on the timeline with links to original documents and other resources as available.


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About USU:

The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, founded by an act of Congress in 1972, is the nation’s federal health sciences university and the academic heart of the Military Health System. USU students are primarily active duty uniformed officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Public Health Service who receive specialized education in tropical and infectious diseases, TBI and PTSD, disaster response and humanitarian assistance, global health, and acute trauma care. USU also has graduate programs in oral biology, biomedical sciences and public health committed to excellence in research. The University's research program covers a wide range of areas important to both the military and public health. For more information about USU and its programs, visit