Congressman Bill Young Honored for Championing the Center for Deployment Psychology - May 2007

On May 17, 2007 the American Psychological Association and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) hosted a reception for the establishment of the Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP). The primary purpose of the reception was to honor Congressman Bill Young (R-FL), Chair of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and champion of the CDP Program. Unfortunately Congressman Young was not able to attend due to a critical vote on the House Floor.

A number of special out-of-town guests attended the reception, which was held at the USU Headquarters located on the beautiful grounds of Bethesda Naval Hospital. APA member Herb Goldstein, PhD and his wife Alene who are friends of Congressman Bill Young came up from St Petersburg for the reception and APA Board Member Jessica Henderson-Daniel, PhD flew in from Boston to thank everyone involved in the CDP Program. In addition, Cynthia Belar, PhD, Executive Director of Education, Nina Levitt, EdD, Associate Executive Director for Education Policy, Ellen Garrison, PhD, Senior Policy Advisor and other APA staff were in attendance. 

In his welcoming remarks, USU President Charles Rice, MD noted how pleased he was about the creation of the CDP training program and that the CDP headquarters is located on the USU campus. Dr. Rice also thanked Carol Scheman, USU Vice President for External Affairs, and CDP staff Kathryn Fair, PhD and Amanda Ring for helping to organize the special luncheon reception.

Next, David Riggs, PhD, Executive Director for the CDP expressed his own appreciation to Congressman Young for championing the CDP and applauded APA for making the CDP a top legislative priority. Dr. Riggs noted that in the last four years over 1.5 million Americans have deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom and that best estimates of mental health problems (e.g., PTSD, depression, anxiety) among returning service members range from about 10% to as high as 20%. He explained that this means between 150,000 and 300,000 Americans are suffering from serious emotional problems following their deployment experience. Dr. Riggs then spoke about what has been accomplished so far at the CDP, and David Krantz, PhD, Chair of the USU Medical & Clinical Psychology Department, explained the role of the program at USU. COL Crow, PsyD, Army Chief Psychologist, and one of the founding members of the CDP, concluded by underscoring the value of the program to the military.

Among those attending the special reception were Acting Surgeon General, RADM Kenneth P. Moritsugu, and two members of the USU Board of Regents, Everett Alvarez, Jr., J.D. and Linda Stierle, MSN, RN, CNAA. Original tri-service planning committee members in the audience included: former Army MAJ Vicki Ingram who graciously agreed to be the military point person when the CDP was in the concept stage, as well as CAPT Morgan Sammons, MAJ Lisa Teegarden, and Eric Getka, PhD, Director for Navy Psychology Training. LTC Debra Dunivin, PhD, Army Psychology Deputy Director and Director of Training also came to express support for the program.

Finally, even though Congressman Young could not attend the reception because of critical House votes, Congressional staff of Senator Cardin (D-MD) and Representative Van Hollen (D-8th MD) were able to attend and spoke enthusiastically about the new CDP program.