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Providence VA Medical Center, Rhode Island


Mental Health Research at the Providence VA Medical Center

Here at the Providence VA Medical Center (PVAMC) there are various studies taking place across the field of mental health.  Taking part in research studies can be interesting for you and contributes to helping others by advancing scientists knowledge.  Mental health researchers at the PVAMC are currently looking for volunteers to participate in research studies related to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anger, guilt, and schizophrenia.

PTSD Research Opportunities

PTSD is a mental health problem that can occur after someone goes through a traumatic event like war, assault, an accident or disaster.  After a trauma or life-threatening event, it is common to have reactions such as upsetting memories of the event, increased jumpiness, or trouble sleeping.  Listed below are several studies being conducted at the PVAMC, which focus on PTSD.

PTSD and Depression:  Dr. Noah Philip and his research team in the Center for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology (CfNN) at the PVAMC are conducting a study examining the effects of synchronized transcranial magnetic stimulation (sTMS) in Veterans with symptoms of PTSD and major depression.  sTMS is a novel, non-invasive therapy that has previously been shown to reduce symptoms of depression.  Eligible participants will be asked to complete a series of questionaires and interviews related to their mental health and may undergo up to three MRI scans.  Additionally, participants may receive up to eight weeks of sTMS therapy and will be compensated for their time and effort. 

Follow this link to learn more about Dr. Philip's sTMS study.
 NeoSync equipment
Virtual Reality:  A team of researchers led by Drs. Philip and Mascha Frank are looking for Veterans between the ages of 18 to 65 to participate in a study that examines whether the use of a low electrical current on the scalp makes it easier to watch combat deployment scenes using virtual reality in Veterans with PTSD.  The study involves ten visits, where participants will be asked to answer questions about their mental health and current problems, engage in a virtual reality experience of Iraq or Afghanistan, and have two MRI scans.  Participants are compensated for their tme and effort.

Click to learn more about PTSD and Virtual Reality

 VR Driviingn Scree VR setup 
Individual Therapy:  M. Tracie Shea, PhD and her research team are looking for volunteers for a treatment study that is looking at two forms of individual therapy designed to improve mental health, relationships, and overall quality of life in Veterans with PTSD. This study is specifically looking for Veterans ages 18 and older who have a diagnosis of PTSD and who are also having difficulties with relationships (romantic relationships, family relationships, friendships, work relationships, or socializing).

This study involves an initial assessment to determine eligibility and then 12 weeks of individual therapy and 3 follow-up visits after treatment is complete.  All visits are conducted by researchers and clincians here at the Providence VAMC.  Participants will be compensated for their time and effort.

Please follow this link Fighting PTSD if you are interested in learning more about this study, or call and speak with a member of the research team.
     Project Coordinator: Shauna Finley, PhD
     Principle Investigator: M. Tracie Shea, PhD
     Ph: (401) 273-7100 ext. 6251

Trauma Related Research Studies

After a trauma or life-threatening event, it is also common to experience feelings of anger or guilt.  In addition to the studies listed above, researchers at the PVAMC are looking for volunteers that have been exposed to a traumatic event that may not have a diagnosis of PTSD, who experience feelings of guilt, regret, and/or anger.

Therapy Session 

Guilt: Dr. Capone and her research team are recruiting male and female OEF/OIF/OND Veterans who are endorsing significant distress related to an event that happened on deployment.  All participants will receive 6 sessions of individual psychotherapy and will be compensated for their time upon completing the research assessments.  Of note, Veterans do NOT need to have any particular mental health diagnosis (e.g. PTSD) in order to participate scinec the primary aim of this study is to reduce guilt.

Click to learn more about Project "Trauma Informed Guilt Reduction (TriGR) Intervention".

Schizophrenia & Schizoaffective Disorder Research

Researchers at CfNN are currently looking into the way people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder think.  This study involves a screening interview discussing general and  mental health as well as completeing a simple computer task.  This study is a one-time, two -hour visit at the PVAMC and participants will be reimbursed for thier time and effort.

Please click here if you are interested in learning more about this thinking study, or call to speak directly with a member of our research team.

     Co-Investigator: Rachel Blackman, PhD
     Research Assistant: Hannah Swearingen
     Tel: (401) 273-7100 ext. 4449