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Director’s Message

Robert J. Ursano, MD
Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Director, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress
Uniformed Services University

Dear Center Colleagues and Friends,

The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS) has entered its second quarter century of service to our nation. Our sustained mission is to advance scientific and academic knowledge, interventions, educational resources and outreach to mitigate the impact of trauma from exposure to war, disasters, terrorism, community violence and public health threats. Our Center’s mission continues to be essential to the Department of Defense and the nation.  Center scientists, educators and clinicians continue to bring scholarly and research oriented problem solving to the mental and behavioral health problems of those exposed to war, disaster and traumatic events. 

Our Center has been instrumental in defining and advancing the fields of military psychiatry and disaster psychiatry. The Center is also engaged in groundbreaking scientific studies whose findings will inform the next quarter century. The Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS), the largest study of mental health risk and resilience ever conducted among military personnel, is increasing our knowledge of the risks and protective factors that underlie vulnerability and resilience in the face of traumatic exposure for Service members who have and will serve our nation for years to come.

The Center’s research in neuroscience and the neurobiology of stress is dedicated to finding effective interventions for a number of military unique health issues such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and suicide for which we have developed an extensive library of resources for military healthcare providers and for service members and families.

Our Child and Family Program (CFP) is a voice to the nation in bringing attention to a large population of U.S. Service members and their families who have been and will continue to be affected for years to come by serious combat injuries or military parental death.

Disaster behavioral health is another area in which the Center provides leadership for the nation through consultation and dissemination of resources for disaster responders and for communities addressing many special topics including natural disasters, community violence, terrorism, body recovery and worker stress and public health threats to name but a few.

As Director of our Center since its establishment in 1987, I am proud of our Center scientists and our Center’s work that has assisted the Department of Defense in leading the nation in trauma-informed care, and rapidly moving findings from bench to bedside and from war to disaster.

Robert J. Ursano, MD