Vets, non-vets work together to understand PTSD

A group of smiling students pose around a large S on the floor of a classroom at Syracuse University.

Participants in the Syracuse University Undergraduate Trauma Research Training Program.

November 14, 2022

Post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, can develop after a person experiences a traumatic event, such as a death, a car accident or a sexual assault. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 11% to 20% of veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom have PTSD in a given year. For veterans who served in the Gulf War, that rate is about 12%, and for Vietnam veterans it is about 30%. Due to the number of military veterans dealing with PTSD, research in this area continues to grow.

The NSF REU: Undergraduate Trauma Research Training Program, a collaborative effort among Syracuse University, SUNY Upstate Medical University and SUNY Oswego, focuses on teambuilding activities, mentorship and hands-on training with veteran and non-veteran students to conduct trauma-related research.

To learn more, NSF interviewed Kevin Heffernan, a professor of exercise science at Syracuse and the program director, and Karen Wolford, a psychology professor at SUNY Oswego and senior co-director of the program.

Read more in Science Matters.

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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