Thursday, October 28, 2010

VA Honors Psychologist with Olin Teague Award

Washington (Oct. 28, 2010) - A psychologist for the Department of
Veterans Affairs (VA) in Charleston, S.C., has been recognized with the
Olin Teague Award for his achievements treating Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD) in combat Veterans.

VA psychologist Peter Tuerk, Ph.D., was awarded the Department of
Veterans Affairs 2010 Olin E. Teague Award, a national award that
recognizes contributions in an area critical to the rehabilitation and
improvement in the quality of life of war-injured Veterans.

"Approximately 15 percent of Veterans who served in Operation Enduring
Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom are diagnosed with PTSD," said
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "Dr. Tuerk's work
exemplifies the strides VA is taking in understanding and treating this

Tuerk, who works with the Charleston VA Posttraumatic Stress Clinical
Team and is an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences
at Medical University of South Carolina, runs the first VA clinic in the
country to offer Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PET) via telehealth or
video teleconferencing technology to rural Veterans.

This evidence-based treatment for PTSD has significantly improved
outcomes for Veterans suffering from PTSD who may not live close to a VA
medical facility. Tuerk broke new ground in VA providing this specialty
telehealth treatment to Veterans who might not otherwise have access,
while proving its effectiveness in several research studies that were
published in top-tiered national journals including the American Journal
of Psychiatry and the Journal of Traumatic Stress. Tuerk's VA clinic
was also the first clinic anywhere in the U.S. to provide and publish
research on in-home exposure therapy for Veterans with PTSD.

The award is named in honor of the late Olin E. Teague, a disabled World
War II Army war hero and Texas congressman of 32 years, who spent 18
years chairing the House Veterans Affairs Committee.