This K01 Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award, the Army Warrior Care Project (AWCP), supports the candidate in developing an independent research career to investigate modifiable risk and protective factors associated with behavioral health problems (substance use and mental health problems) and behavioral health service utilization in Army service members who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. The AWCP specifically focuses Army service members assigned to Warrior Transition Units (WTUs), which are co- located with military treatment facilities and provide comprehensive behavioral health care to ill, injured, and wounded service members. Career development objectives include training the candidate in advanced biostatistical, epidemiological, and health services research methods to conduct population-based research using a unique database consisting of Department of Defense Military Health System data.
The specific aims of the proposed AWCP are to: (1) determine the probability of WTU assignment and estimate the treatment effect of receiving comprehensive behavioral health care in WTUs among Army service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan deployments FY2008 to FY2012;(2) determine demographic, military, deployment, and post-deployment behavioral health factors associated with WTU assignment and onset of post-deployment substance use problems and/or diagnoses among Army WTU members;and (3) identify the military-related pre-disposing, enabling, and need factors associated with post-deployment behavioral health problems and behavioral health service utilization among Army WTU members. The moderating effect of gender and race/ethnicity on post-deployment behavioral health status and behavioral health service utilization will also be examined. The AWCP is innovative because it focuses on: comprehensive behavioral health care in Army WUTs, gender and racial/ethnic differences in access to and receipt of military behavioral health care, and use of cross-sectional and longitudinal data, including objective (medical claims) and subjective (self-report) Military Healt System data.
Consistent with the National Defense Authorization Act (2008, 2012) recommendations, the proposed Army Warrior Care Project will provide evidence to guide the development of gender-sensitive and racial/ethnic-specific behavioral health intervention strategies for military members with behavioral health problems. The project findings will significantly increase senior military leaders and military health policymakers'understanding of behavioral health problems among high-risk groups in the military by providing actionable data to inform military health policy for the improvement of behavioral health care in the Military Health System.