Released: August 15, 2013

The CDMRP and VA ORD to Manage Two Multi-Institutional PTSD and TBI Consortia

On August 10, President Obama announced the selection of two multi-institutional consortia focused on translational and clinical research on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic effects of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Supported by funding from the U. S. Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA), Dr. Alan Peterson of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) and Dr. David Cifu of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) will each receive awards to lead these consortia. The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, in collaboration with the VA Office of Research and Development, will support execution and management efforts for both consortia.

Among the biggest challenges in treating PTSD and mTBI is the need for a more comprehensive understanding of the complex mechanisms that influence the acute and chronic progression of the injuries. In response to this need and to the Presidential Executive Order 13625, the DoD and VA are collaborating to fund and execute two new multi-institutional consortia aimed at the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD and mTBI. These collaborative five-year efforts are the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD, or CAP, and the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium, or CENC. Approximately $20 million of DoD funds and up to $25 million of VA funds are available for a single consortium award under CAP, while $37 million of DoD funds and up to $25 million of VA funds are available for a single consortium award under CENC.

Dr. Peterson, Chief of the UTHSCSA Division of Behavioral Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry and a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, will serve as the Principal Investigator (PI) and Director of the CAP award. The principal VA collaboration is led by consortium Co-Director, Dr Terence Keane of the VA Boston Healthcare System, the National Center for PTSD, and Boston University. In this capacity, Dr. Keane will provide VA leadership within the CAP Consortium and help design studies that address the needs of America's Veterans. This effort will be focused on developing the most effective diagnostic, prognostic, novel treatment, and rehabilitative strategies to treat acute PTSD and prevent chronic PTSD. A significant focus of the CAP will be a research effort to identify and confirm clinically relevant biomarkers for PTSD and co-occurring disorders.

Dr. Cifu, Chairman of the VCU Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, will serve as the PI and Director of the CENC award. Dr. Cifu is also the National Director for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for the VA. Consortium Co-Investigator Dr. Ramon Diaz-Arrastia of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center will provide access to critical military populations for studies of mTBI and the many diseases associated with combat duty. Veterans will be recruited to the studies through a number of VA medical centers nationwide. This collaborative effort focuses on examining the factors that influence the chronic effects of mTBI and common comorbidities in order to develop improved diagnostic and treatment options. One area of critical understanding is to establish the relationship between mTBI and neurodegenerative disease.

The CAP and CENC are composed of multiple organizations to include academia, VA, and military research and treatment facilities. It is expected that as the consortia develop, additional studies will be incorporated to address evolving research needs in the areas of PTSD and mTBI, providing opportunites for expansion of the consortia and additional collaborations throughout the life of the CAP and CENC awards. Both consortia are part of the National Research Action Plan for Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans, Service Members, and Families and will leverage existing resources and knowledge gained through DoD and VA infrastructure and research investments, as well as public and private academia and industry to advance highly translational PTSD and TBI research.

DoD Press Release:

VA Press Release:

Fact Sheet for National Research Action Plan for Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans, Service Members, and Families:

Point of Contact:

Last updated Tuesday, January 4, 2022