|Psychologist receives award for helping veterans
psychologist Peter Tuerk, Ph.D., was awarded the Department of Veterans
Affairs Olin E. Teague Award in October for his achievements in
treating combat veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The national award recognizes VA staff whose achievements have been
extraordinarily beneficial to the rehabilitation of war-injured
veterans. The award was established by the Department of Veterans
Affairs in honor of the late Olin E. Teague, whose leadership and
support as a member of Congress, and both member and Chairman of the
House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, were paramount in carrying out
the mission of the department.
Dr. Peter Tuerk
Tuerk, who works with the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center’s
Posttraumatic Stress Clinical Team and is an assistant professor of
psychiatry and behavioral sciences at MUSC, runs the first VA clinic in
the country to offer prolonged exposure therapy via telehealth or video
teleconferencing technology to rural veterans. This evidence-based
treatment for PTSD has significantly improved outcomes for veterans
suffering from PTSD.
Tuerk broke new ground in the VA providing this specialty telehealth
treatment to veterans who might not otherwise have access, while
proving its effectiveness in several research studies published in
top-tiered national journals, including the American Journal of
Psychiatry and The Journal of Traumatic Stress. Tuerk’s clinic was the
first in the nation to provide and publish research on in-home exposure
therapy for veterans with PTSD whose symptom presentation and other
circumstances present a special need.
Tuerk serves as a national prolonged exposure consultant, and is one of
12 national workshop trainers for the VA Office of Mental Health
Service Prolonged Exposure rollout. To date, he has trained more than
120 VA mental health clinicians in this treatment.
“It’s quite a thrill when a young Marine who deployed three times tells
you he can feel his emotions again or when a Vietnam veteran has
finally learned to enjoy his family after 30 years and knowing you had
a part in helping them get there,” said Tuerk. “That’s recognition
enough for me.”
Friday, Nov. 5, 2010