Online Program

An update on working toward peace by providing civilian health and mental health services to active duty military personnel

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 12:48 p.m. - 1:06 p.m.

Mario Cruz, MD, School of Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Howard Waitzkin, MD, PhD, Department of Sociology and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy, University of New Mexico, Loves Park, IL
Bryant Shuey, BS, School of Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Objective: The increasing health and mental health problems of military personnel have emerged as a major public health epidemic. We will present updated findings from an ongoing effort to identify social variables that mediate health and mental health disorders among active duty GIs and veterans who prefer to seek their health and mental health services in civilian settings.

Methods: Our sample was drawn from the clients of a nationwide network of civilian physicians and mental health service providers [the Civilian Medical Resources Network (CMRN)] who offered their services to active-duty and veteran military personnel. We conducted quantitative analyses of data collected during intake interviews. Results: Among clients, 63% were between 18 and 26 years of age, 34% identified themselves as belonging to a minority group and 21% were female. The majority of our clients were in the Army (70%) Army with rank between E1 and E3 (46%). Twenty one percent of CMRN clients reported being diagnosed with a pre-military mental health disorder while 31% reported a pre-military trauma history. Depression (71%), PTSD (55%), other anxiety disorder (37%), and Alcohol Use Disorder (30%) were the most common diagnoses in our population. Bivariate and multivariate analyses assessing the relationship between client characteristics and the presence of behavioral disorders or symptoms will be presented at the time of the presentation.

Conclusion: Our preliminary descriptive findings suggest that the notion of the “Healthy Warrior” may be suspect for many active duty GIs who seek civilian rather than military health and mental health services.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the characteristics of active duty GIs and veterans who seek civilian health and mental health services; Explore the relationships between their selected characteristics; Analyze how such services may contribute to peace.

Keyword(s): War, Health Care Access

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the principal or co-principal investigator on several federally funded grants focusing on improving access to health and behavioral services for the poor and under-served. Scientific interests: community-based participatory research; survey research; health information technology and its impact on care access and quality for the poor and under-served; provider-patient communication and its relationship to treatment adherence. Published topics include psychiatrists' communication behaviors, medication management; partner violence, child abuse; management of depression for older Americans.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.