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The Veterans Health and Integration Program (VHIP) is a collaboration between NCIRE and musician John Mayer. The program combines scientific research and community-based outreach to improve the health of post-9/11 Veterans and to ease the transition from deployment to civilian life. Using rigorous scientific research to develop durable support resources for Veterans of the Armed Forces, VHIP has already launched four projects: Veterans Group Exercise, Personalized Fitness Training, Women Warriors: Eating and Nutrition, and Military Acculturation.

Veterans Group Exercise

Mind-body group fitness for Veterans with service-related stress

This project aims to develop, implement and test an integrativeexercise protocol specifically designed for military service members. The protocol will incorporate elements of mindfulness, cardiovascular strengthening and controlled breathing into a standardized, military-friendly treatment regimen. The pilot project will serve as an evidence-based, low-risk non-pharmacological treatment for combat-related stress.

For more information on participating in this project, please click here. For an ABC News piece on VGX, please click here.

Personalized Fitness Training

Mental health through physical strengthening

Veterans will receive individual consultation and regular strength / cardiovascular training as gateways to improved mental and physical health. Exercise and strengthening programs are tailored for both healthy and wounded warriors, with the aim of establishing the camaraderie, discipline, strength and readiness of military service in a healthy civilian environment.

Women Warriors: Eating and Nutrition

Early detection and treatment for stress-related disordered eating

This project aims to develop a better understanding of the relationship between eating and deployment-related trauma among newly returning female veterans. Research shows that post-deployment eating disorders disproportionally affect women who have engaged in combat, and pose a serious threat to long term mental and physical health. Currently, few screening instruments exist to detect women who may be showing signs of early or advanced eating disorders, and VA resources for treatment are limited. This pilot will develop a new screening protocol, a counseling, fitness, nutrition, cooking and recovery program for those who are showing early signs of an eating disorder and a completed research protocol to assess the utility and efficacy of the new program

Military Acculturation

Easing the transition to the civilian setting

Distinguishing cultural transition from standard mental health symptoms is a critical part of accurately assessing and addressing the concerns of Veterans and active duty personnel. This project will develop a novel clinical index of military acculturation to be used collaboratively by providers and clients. Refined clinical understandings of military experience will facilitate more accurate clinical assessment of both acculturation issues and mental health symptoms, and inform the development of innovative treatment strategies.

These four projects will create new community-based resources that meet the needs of Veterans returning from overseas deployment. In conducting this research and sharing the results, VHIP will provide the entire medical community with new and useful data to develop more accurate and contemporary understandings and treatments. With an emphasis on the remarkable accomplishments and service of Veterans, VHIP aims to promote new attention to both the science and the spirit of Veterans health.

To become a partner in our work, please sign up for VHIP communications from the NCIRE and the John Mayer team by signing up here. 

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October 23, 2014