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College of Social Work


Military

South Carolina is home to a large number of military service members, military families and veterans. Our faculty explore behavioral health issues in this population, identifying disparities and opportunities to improve services.

Our research leverages strong relationships with military officials and agencies to examine behavioral health challenges in the midst of military life stressors, such as deployment, combat and transitioning to civilian life.

A faculty member is engaged in a major five-year study analyzing extensive databases of Department of Defense administrative and medical claims data to investigate behavioral health care in the U.S. Army’s Warrior Transition Units, established by Congress a decade ago to improve accountability in health care delivery for soldiers with complex needs.

Similar analysis is being performed to examine health care provided to military service members in civilian health facilities in South Carolina. Initial findings suggest that more than one-half of the behavioral health care received in these facilities took place in the emergency department rather than in the outpatient setting, which is recommended best practice, and identified gaps in referring patients to follow-up care resources offered through the military.

The college’s researchers have also looked at the experiences of women in the military environment, including new research suggesting the need for greater support from military leaders and service members for victims of sexual assault.

In addition, faculty partnered with researchers from Brandeis and Harvard Universities to train South Carolina physicians in community practice and Veterans Administration medical settings about safe opioid prescribing practices, including how to use the state’s prescription monitoring database, efforts that have increased provider utilization of the database.

 

Current Grants/Projects

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Behavioral Health Care in Army Warrior Transition Units