DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED MEDICAL RESEARCH PROGRAMS

Virtual Reality as a Tool for Enhancing the Proficiency of Behavioral Health Providers

Principal Investigator: ATUEL, HAZEL R
Institution Receiving Award: UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Program: DMRDP
Proposal Number: 11256011
Award Number: W81XWH-14-2-0154
Funding Mechanism: Broad Agency Announcement
Partnering Awards:
Award Amount: $5,157,314.00


TECHNICAL ABSTRACT

Background: Military-impacted populations are not receiving appropriate treatment, due largely to a shortage of military culturally competently trained providers. We address both the immediate need for competent practitioners in the community, as well as the long-term enhancement of care for military-impacted populations.

Objective: The primary objective of this proposal is to meet the continually increasing service need for military-impacted populations by rapidly increasing the number of providers who are prepared to effectively treat behavioral health challenges among military-impacted populations.

Specific Aims: To meet the primary objective, we will (a) test the comparative effectiveness of the VP-T (virtual patient trainer) with SPPRP (student peer-to-peer role play) and SAP (standardized actor patients) (Study A) and (b) assess new innovative methods to effectively train community BHPs (behavioral health providers) to maintain their learned evidence-based practice clinical knowledge and behavior beyond the training course (Study B).

Study Design: Study A applies a mixed method research design to examine how the VP-T can add to the arsenal of training methods for expanding the capacity of the workforce engaged with sustaining the psychological health and resilience military-impacted populations. Study B uses a mixed method design to train and evaluate BHPs and determine how to increase adoption of EBPs (evidence-based practices).

Relevance: There is an urgent need for expanding the existing behavioral health workforce to meet the needs of military-impacted populations. The need for preparation of civilian providers is consequently greater than in any previous war and will steadily increase the longer we are at war. This study will increase the workforce of military culturally competent providers.