Deployment Trauma: Insights from the TRACTS Cohort of the Effects of mTBI and Blast Exposure in OEF/OIF Veterans
Dr. Catherine Fortier is a Research Psychologist & Associate Clinical Director at the National Translational Research Center for Traumatic Brain Injury and Stress Disorders (TRACTS), VA Boston Healthcare System and an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. At TRACTS, Dr. Fortier and her colleagues are conducting state-of-the-art research studies that aim to understand how mTBI and related stress disorders, independently and interactively, impact the brain and lead to problems in thinking abilities, as well as family and work life. One of TRACTS’ goals is to develop innovative treatments that target both TBI and related stress disorders simultaneously, in order to maximize recovery. Dr. Fortier and her colleagues have developed an acceptable, holistic alternative to traditional therapies to help all OEF/OIF/OND Veterans with reintegration difficulties post-combat called STEP-Home. STEP-Home is a short-term skills-based workshop designed to address the complex clinical needs of OEF/OIF/OND Veterans. The workshop is designed to help Veterans develop skills including problem-solving and emotional regulation to assist their reintegration to civilian and work life after the military. In addition, Dr. Fortier has investigated the impact of alcohol on brain structure and function, with a specific emphasis on associative learning. Dr. Fortier has applied this line of research to Returning Veterans examining how drinking behavior (including binge drinking) interacts with other psychological and physical health factors and impacts learning.