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Planning Next Steps for Ft Sill Research

19 Jun

We’re gearing up to go back to Ft Sill this summer (probably in August) and test out the resiliency-supporting capacity of our guided imagery audios on soldiers from a recently returned truck company in Iraq and a battalion that will return from Afghanistan at the end of the month.
 
This time we’ve got a terrific research team helping us - Drs. Edgardo Padin-Rivera and Kevin Young, both volunteering their time outside of their work at the Cleveland V.A. –to design, implement and analyze the study.

Now, anyone will tell you that normally it takes a long time to launch start-up research at the V.A. - even with a small feasibility study and a grant, there are a lot of hoops to jump through in the internal bureaucracy, lots of rules and regs, legal restraints, public relations sensitivities… some internal territoriality about what modality deserves investigation… then there’s the IRB of course (that’s Institutional Review Board and every hospital study must have one, to make sure patients are protected and it’s all ethical and above board).
 
So, after eight months, you may get the green light to go ahead, or your whole effort may tank.  But even with a green light, it can take years to enroll enough subjects to complete a study.  V.A. patients have a way of moving or disappearing before you can gather your follow up data!  It’s frustrating and difficult, and the investigators who hang in there long enough to complete a study should definitely get some kind of Persistence Medal.
 
So imagine our surprise when the U.S. Army tells us we can have scores – no,  hundreds - of soldiers for our study.  We can start in a matter of weeks.  We can have back-up from unit leaders to support some degree of adherence to the protocol, and test-taking rooms for filling out our Measurement Instrument….

And when decisions and plans don’t turn out quite the way we want, they turn on a dime and reconfigure, come up with something better.  It’s the most fluid and fast-moving large system I’ve ever dealt with, that’s for sure – at least at my lowly level of operation.
 
And, as for these researchers, well, it’s Christmas in June!!  

When all is said and done, we all want the same thing: to find practical, user-friendly, self-administerable tools to help our Service Members, after all they’ve gone through and sacrificed – both downrange and at home.  We’ll keep you updated.

OK, take care and be well!

All best,

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award