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PTSD workshops set

March 13, 2013
Lehigh Acres Citizen

The Southwest Florida Medical Reserve Corps Foundation has announced the date of a professional workshop, a two-part program on post-traumatic stress.

The workshop, "Understanding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Diagnosis And Treatment" will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 15 at Hodges University, at 4501 Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers.

The program is designed for all mental health and medical professionals, nurses, graduate students and disaster responders who care for patients.

The speakers include Dr. Deborah Beidel, who is internationally recognized for her work in anxiety disorders and with Vietnam vets with combat related PTSD. She serves as professor and director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic and program director of the Trauma Management Program.

Also scheduled is Dr. Sandra Neer, research assistant professor at UCF and program coordinator, and Dr. Pat Santucci, associate professor of psychiatry at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine and medical director of the Southwest Florida Medical Reserve Corps.

The speakers will present an overview of PTSD, its impact and recommendations for families, and effective treatments will be discussed.

The workshop is free. Lunch will be provided. Continuing educational credits are available.

An evening program will also be presented April 15.

"Using Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy to Treat PTSD" will be held from 6-8:30 p.m. at Park Royal Hospital, on the HealthPark campus of Lee Memorial Hospital. It is open to professionals and the community.

Beidel will address how virtual reality exposure therapy has shown to be an effective treatment in the reduction of PTSD symptoms.

"A major concern is the high incidence of PTSD among our returning military," she said. "We must make sure that treatment is available."

Beidel will also address the opportunity for a three-week intensive treatment program, featuring the use of virtual reality.

"This treatment is open to all military personnel returning from Afghanistan and Iraq with PTSD," she said. "The program is free and includes housing at no cost for those who participate."

These educational and awareness programs are being brought to the community by the SW Florida Medical Reserve Foundation, the non-profit organization which supports the activities of the Medical Reserve Corps

The Medical Reserve Corps is a national network of local groups of volunteers, both medical and non-medical, who are committed to helping during times of disasters or crisis and to improving the health and resiliency of their communities.

There are more than 200,000 volunteers in the United States and more than 1,000 volunteers in the Southwest Florida MRC unit.

Space is limited and early registration is recommended. To register for either workshop, Google "EVENTBRITE."

For more information on the workshops, receiving continuing education credits, becoming a MRC volunteer or supporting the MRC mission, contact MRC coordinator, Dr. Debra Gary, at



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