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Watch the first in a series of explorations of VA/DoD career paths.

The United States (US) Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD) highly value mental health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists. In fact, VA and DoD are the single largest employers of psychologists, and the DoD currently identifies psychologists and social workers as its top two “mission critical occupations.” Mental health professionals throughout the VA and DoD systems deliver mental health care, conduct research spanning the translational science continuum, manage numerous national programs, and educate future generations of VA/DoD clinicians, investigators, and leaders. Yet despite the diverse array of Military and Veteran mental health careers paths, relatively few mental health trainees engage with the VA/DoD systems early in training (e.g., during graduate school).

This panel, co-sponsored by the ABCT Student Membership Committee and the ABCT Military and Veteran Psychology SIG, is the first in a multi-part professional development series highlighting VA and DoD mental health-related career paths. This session’s panel showcases investigators conducting VA- and DoD-funded research of direct relevance to military Veterans’ and Service members’ mental health. In addition to describing their career trajectories, expert panelists will describe research questions and methodologies suitable to various systems, the advantages and challenges of conducting mental health research within a federal government system, recommendations they have for trainees considering VA/DoD career paths, and more.

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