From the Front Lines: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Legacy of Iraq at the 2007 Aspen Health Forum with discussants Charles Figley, Georg-Andreas Pogany, Jennifer Vasterling and Barbara Romberg.
The panelists will explore the health care consequences of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder related to the Iraq war for our families, communities and our society- Aspen Institute
Charles R. Figley is Director and Professor, Florida State University Traumatology Institute, and Editor of Traumatology (Sage Publications). He has published nearly 200 scholarly papers or books since 1973. His first book, Stress Disorders among Vietnam Veterans: Theory, Research, and Treatment (Brunner/Mazel, 1978), is recognized as the first comprehensive analysis of the immediate and long-term psychosocial consequences of war on the combatants. This was followed by Strangers at Home: Vietnam Veterans since the War (Praeger, 1980). His latest book, with Navy Captain and psychiatrist William Nash, is Combat Stress Injury (Routledge, 2007). He is a former Vietnam veteran marine who has worked closely with all branches of the military to help combatants and their families and those who care for them (corpsmen, medics, nurses, physicians, social workers, psychologists, chaplains, and their superiors who evaluate them). The Green Cross, which he founded in 1995, is working with other NGOs to help returning veterans and their families.
Michelle McMurry is Director of the Health, Biomedical Science, and Society Policy Program and the Aspen Health Forum at the Aspen Institute. She trained in pediatrics and molecular immunology. Since transitioning into health and science policy, her work has focused on the intersection of biomedical research funding policies and healthcare disparities and global health inequities. She has been a Global Health Fellow at the Council for Foreign Relations and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Health Policy at George Washington University.
She was formerly a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco. She formerly oversaw health and social policy issues for Senator Joseph Lieberman and was the senior health policy advisor for the Lieberman for President Campaign. She also worked to improve diversity in graduate science education in the Office of the Director of the National Science Foundation as an AAAS Science Policy Fellow.
Georg-Andreas Pogany is a retired Sergeant First Class (SFC) and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran. After obtaining a bachelor's in criminology from the University of South Florida, he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve. In 1998, he switched services and enlisted in the Army, where he trained as a nuclear, biological and chemical warfare specialist. In 2003, he was deployed to Iraq as part of a Special Forces unit. There, he became incapacitated by toxic drug levels from the anti-malarial drug Lariam/Mefloquine. He was sent to Fort Carson, Colo., where he was diagnosed with a related brain injury. He received treatment and shortly thereafter was honorably discharged.
Since his retirement from the Army, he has worked as a veteran's and active duty service member advocate on health care, combat stress, and military justice. He created and manages "J1W2," Just One Wounded Warrior, which connects veterans and active duty service members with mental health care professionals.
Barbara V. Romberg, Founder and Executive Director of Give an Hour, is a licensed clinical psychologist who has been practicing in the Washington, D.C., area for 16 years. She specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of children.
Dr. Romberg has spent her career interacting with and coordinating services within large systems, including school districts and mental health clinics. In addition, for many years, she served as an adjunct faculty member at George Washington University, where she trained and supervised developing clinicians. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland in 1991.
Concerned about the mental health implications of the Iraq War, Dr. Romberg founded Give an Hour in 2005. Give an Hour is a nonprofit organization that is creating a national network of mental health professionals who are providing free services to U.S. troops, veterans and their families.
Jennifer J. Vasterling serves as the Chief of Psychology at the VA Boston Healthcare System and as a clinical investigator within the Behavioral Sciences Division of the National Center for PTSD.
Dr. Vasterling also is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at Tulane University School of Medicine. She obtained her PhD in clinical psychology from Vanderbilt University in 1988. Trained as a clinical neuropsychologist, Dr. Vasterling's research has centered on furthering understanding of the cognitive and emotional changes that accompany war-zone deployment and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Her recent work includes a longitudinal study examining neuropsychological and emotional outcomes of the Iraq War. This effort is unique in that it tracks the mental health of deploying soldiers, starting when they are deployed and following them after they return from Iraq.