A former US Veterans Affairs Mental Health Program Leader, Professor Daniel Kivlahan,  has partnered with GMRF as an academic advisor to help inform the direction and implementation of innovative research into veteran mental health.

Prof Kivlahan, from the University of Washington in Seattle, joined the GMRF team in March 2018 and visited Australia to consult on GMRF’s research investigating the reintegration process from military service to civilian life.

As a clinician and researcher in psychology, Prof Kivlahan offers extensive experience in mental health, particularly from his role as National Mental Health Program Director for Addictive Disorders in Mental Health Services of the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

In previous roles, Prof Kivlahan served as the Director of the Center of Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment and Education at the VA Medical Center in Seattle. He has co-authored over 150 peer reviewed publications and helped lead development of reforms of the Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense Clinical Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Substance Use Disorders. In 2017 he received the Distinguished Public Service Award from the American Psychological Association Division for Psychologists in Public Service.

During his time in Brisbane and subsequent consultation, Prof Kivlahan will be providing guidance on GMRF’s Veteran Mental Health Initiative (VMHI). This will include developing innovative protocols based on rigorous research methodology, contributing to and reviewing proposals, and assisting with the development of a framework to translate research into clinical practice.

“Having someone with Prof Kivlahan’s expertise providing input will play a crucial part in the future direction and authority of this important body of work,” GMRF CEO Miriam Dwyer says.

“The purpose of our Veteran Mental Health Initiative is to provide practical and tangible benefit to the health of current and former service personnel and their families. Prof Kivlahan will help ensure this research has maximum impact.”

The VMHI was established in 2016, in partnership with RSL Queensland, and is about to commence the second stage of a comprehensive research project examining the psychological and cultural adjustments that come with transitioning from service to civilian life.

In the United States, up to 72% of transitioning veterans reported at least one significant readjustment stressor such as marital problems or financial issues. As it stands, no corresponding data exists for Australian veterans, a clear indication of the importance of the VMHI study in filling a gap in understanding.

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