Winter Newsletter | Updates from our Little Rock site, new telemental health projects, and more!

South Central MIRECC Communique Newsletter

SC MIRECC Communique Newsletter-  Winter 2019, Volume 21, Issue 1

In This Issue

Dr. Landes and the REACH VET evaluation team

Little Rock Site Update

Our Little Rock, Arkansas site is home to three VA mental health research centers: SC MIRECC, the HSR&D Center of Innovation (Center for Mental Healthcare and Outcomes Research or CeMHOR: Director Dr. Rick Owen), and the Behavioral Health Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (BH QUERI; Director Dr. JoAnn Kirchner). Our centers work together, sharing researchers, staff, and resources to grow research in areas such as rural mental health, access, implementation, and suicide prevention.

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FY19 ORH Awardees

Researchers Awarded Office of Rural Health Funds for FY19

Three interconnected projects to expand and evaluate access to VA telemental health services received FY19 Office of Rural Health (ORH) funding at our Houston anchor site. These projects focus on home use of VA Video Connect (VVC), which allows Veterans to meet with their health care team using secure, private sessions through their mobile device. These projects will help the VA provide Veterans with convenient options to access mental health care services. This is especially important for Veterans living in rural communities where access to VA facilities is limited.

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ACT Training

VISN 16 Providers Train in ACT

Twenty-eight VISN 16 mental health providers participated in a 5-week acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) training provided by the SC MIRECC Education Core. Dr. Lilian Dindo, the SC MIRECC Houston Anchor Site Leader, presented one 4-hour accredited webinar to an audience of social workers, nurses, occupational therapists, and psychologists. Participants then received four weeks of consultation from Drs. Dindo and Jim Marchman (Univ. of Iowa).

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Research to Practice Logo

Research to Practice: Veteran Attitudes about Smartphone App Use for Mental Health Care

An article by VA researchers recently reported results of a study examining Veterans’ openness to using smartphone apps for mental health care to assess whether age or rurality was an influence. The work, which involved interviews with 66 Veterans in Maine, Arkansas and California, appeared in JMIR Mheath Uhealth.

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SC MIRECC Award Recipients

Clinicians, Researchers & Staff Recognized with SC MIRECC Awards

In the Fall, 12 clinicians, researchers and staff in VISNs 16 and 17 were named recipients of SC MIRECC awards for their contributions to the center in 2018. Congratulations to the awardees for their hard work to improve VA mental healthcare.

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Recent Publications

  1. Ames D, Erickson Z, Youssef NA, Arnold I, Adamson S, Sones AC, Yin J, Haynes K, Volk F, Teng EJ, Oliver JP, & Koenig HG (2018). Moral injury, religiosity, and suicide risk in U.S. Veterans and Active Duty Military with PTSD symptoms. Military Medicine. Advance online publication.
  2. Bovin MJ, Miller CJ, Koenig CJ, Lipschitz JM, Zamora KA, Wright PB, Pyne JM, & Burgess JF. Jr. (2018). Veterans’ experiences initiating VA-based mental health care. Psychological Services. Advance online publication.
  3. Cucciare MA, Han X, Timko C, Zaller N, Kennedy KM, & Booth BM (2018). Longitudinal associations between outpatient medical care use and substance use among rural stimulant users. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 44(2), 235-243.

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Pilot Study Research Program Applications Due April 1

VISN 16 researchers and researchers located in San Antonio or Dallas, Texas (VISN 17) who are interested in pilot funding for research that can be used to develop clinical policy or programs that improve access, quality and outcomes of mental health and substance use treatment services for rural and/or underserved Veterans are invited to submit an application to the SC MIRECC Pilot Study Research Program.

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Implementation, Design and Analysis Support Available for Affiliates

MIRECC Implementation, Design and Analysis Support (MIDAS) offers centralized design, methodologic and analytic support to VISN 16 investigators and investigators located in San Antonio or Dallas, Texas (VISN 17) who are seeking intramural or extramural funding or conducting pilot projects.

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About Us

The mission of the South Central MIRECC is to promote equity in engagement, access, and quality of mental health care for Veterans facing barriers to care, especially rural Veterans. The Communiqué is published monthly by the SC MIRECC Education Core. Contact us at

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