Training Programs

STRONG STAR Training Initiative


While research has shown that evidence-based treatments such as Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy can be used successfully to treat combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) into remission in a majority of patients, it can be difficult for military service members and veterans to access these treatments. In many cases, they may turn to community-based mental health providers for care, but these community providers may lack training in the best treatments for combat-PTSD.

When seeking treatment for PTSD in community behavioral health settings, military service members and veterans do not always have access to evidence-based treatments for PTSD, such as Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy. Veteran-serving community providers may lack training in frontline treatments for PTSD, resulting in service members and veterans not always receiving the highest quality care.

The STRONG STAR Consortium is trying to help fill the gap in this area through the STRONG STAR Training Initiative, which aims to meet the need for community mental health professionals who can effectively treat PTSD. This will in turn help veterans, who will benefit from local access to direct services in their communities from the providers trained to deliver leading treatments that can help them maintain or resume healthy, productive lives.

What the STRONG STAR Training Initiative offers

The STRONG STAR Training Initiative is led by Katy Dondanville, PsyD, ABPP, and Brooke Fina, LCSW, BCD, associate professors of psychiatry and behavioral sciences in the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

The program conducts Learning Communities, ensuring that mental health providers have the education, support, and resources they need to become experts in providing effective PTSD treatment, offering intensive training in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure (PE). Each learning community consists of:

  • Pre-workshop reading and webinars
  • A two-day workshop
  • Weekly clinical case consultation
  • Online provider portal
  • Organizational consultation
  • Continuing education credits

Those who wish to inquire about the current and ongoing workshop schedule and participation in the Learning Communities may e-mail or visit

Benefit to veterans

By establishing Learning Communities that serve areas with multiple mental health providers treating military veterans, and by supporting trainees to treat veterans as part of their participation in the program, the STRONG STAR Training Initiative aims to bring top PTSD care to psychologically wounded warriors both short- and long-term: first, concurrently with the establishment of each learning community, and second, as newly trained therapists continue to work and treat new patients in the years ahead, including both veterans and non-veterans.

Funding support

Learning Communities are supported by funding from the Bob Woodruff Foundation and Boeing.

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