Local PTSD Research Leader Receives Top Award for Innovation in Bioscience

Dr. Alan Peterson of U.T. Health, who has in many ways written the book on the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD, last night was awarded the top award for Innovation in Healthcare and Bioscience, formerly called the Palmaz Award, by BioMed SA, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Dr. Peterson heads the STRONG STAR Consortium, which is the world's largest research group studying combat-related PTSD.  They are the nation's only research group capable of conducting multiple, large-scale psychological health randomized clinical trials in military settings.

He is a former Air Force psychologist who was assigned to Ground Zero on 9-11, and later to Balad Iraq when the Iraq War began.

He says it was there that he began treating service personnel who had symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress, and he realized that the literature and the references on how to treat the condition was startlingly slim.

"The main treatment that had been done had really been developed for female sexual assault survivors," he said.  "So that's what I reached to, was that kind of treatment."

After retiring from the Air Force, Dr. Peterson has headed more than fifty research projects with over $150 million in peer-reviewed research funding.  His research has helped lead to many of the breakthroughs which are now helping not only military veterans, but others who are suffering Post Traumatic Stress from various causes.

"We have data now to suggest that if you intervene in the first month, at the two week point actually, you can actually treat individuals into remission, or actually prevent them from developing PTSD," he said.

Ted Day, who heads the BioMed SA Award Selection Committee, says Dr. Peterson's achievements are 'simply unprecedented, addressing a significant public health crisis.'

"The research findings of his nationwide consortia on PTSD and related conditions are paving a pathway forward that will help not only military service members and veterans, but also civilians who suffer from the after effects of traumatic events," Day said.

BioMed SA also last night awarded its Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Basil Pruitt, the long time commander of the U.S. Army Institute for Surgical Research at San Antonio Military Medical Center, which is among the leading burn treatment facilities in the world.

Dr. Pruitt is now a clinical professor at UT Health San Antonio's Department of Surgery.


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