NYU Langone Researcher Selected to Conduct Clinical Evaluation Component of National Study on Long-Term Effects of Combat-Related PTSD on U.S. Veterans
Findings Expected to Impact Care of New Generation of Veterans
NYU Langone Medical Center announced that Charles R. Marmar, MD, the Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Psychiatry and chair of the Department of Psychiatry, was selected to lead the clinical evaluation component of a national survey — the National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study (NVVLS) — on the long-term effects of combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other related health conditions on Vietnam veterans.
The three-year NVVLS is being directed by William Schlenger, PhD, a nationally recognized expert in behavioral health and a principal scientist at Abt Associates, a leading global health and social policy research and international development firm. Abt was recently awarded $6.7 million in funding by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct the research. As part of that funding, Abt has provided $1.6 million to NYU Langone Medical Center to lead the clinical evaluation component of the study.
NVVLS will serve as a follow-up to a landmark investigation conducted nearly 25 years ago called the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS), for which Dr. Marmar was a member of the study’s research team. The NVVLS provides an unparalleled opportunity to determine if war-zone related PTSD could potentially lead to physical problems such as hypertension, adult onset diabetes, high cholesterol, premature morbidity or death due to cardiovascular complications, as well as the risk for early onset dementia. Experts also believe complementing NVVRS findings with new information from the NVVLS will provide valuable insights into the long-term readjustment needs of U.S. veterans, and the psychological impact on the spouses, partners and children of war-zone deployed veterans.
The timing for the follow-up investigation is critical. “It is imperative that VA clinicians and health service delivery planners have information about the veterans who participated in the original study to identify needs for future health and mental health services for aging Vietnam veterans,” said Dr. Marmar. “Additionally, the survey findings will be especially important for helping us to better understand the long-term mental and physical impact on the health of service members diagnosed with war-zone related PTSD and to better plan the readjustment needs for those currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
In 1983, Congress enacted public Law 98-160, directing the VA to arrange for an independent, scientific study of the adjustment of Vietnam veterans to provide a scientific basis to formulate policy related to veterans’ psychosocial health. In response to this congressional mandate, NVVRS was conducted, surveying a random sample of 2,348 veterans who had served in the U.S. military between 1964 and 1975. The investigation revealed that 15-20 years after their service in the War, 15.2% of male Vietnam veterans and 8.6% of female Vietnam veterans had PTSD. The NVVRS provided definitive information about the prevalence and etiology of PTSD and other mental health and readjustment problems. In 2000, Congress enacted Public Law 106-419 specifying that a follow-up study be conducted utilizing the database and sample for the NVVRS study, for which Dr. Marmar and his colleagues at NYU Langone will conduct the clinical diagnostic assessments.
Internationally-renowned for his expertise in PTSD, Dr. Marmar has been a consultant on PTSD at VA Medical Centers, fire departments, disaster response teams and police departments, including the New York Police Department. Dr. Marmar has served on multiple committees and scientific advisory groups at the national level, for both the Veterans Administration in Washington, D.C., and for the National Institute of Mental Health. He is currently the principal investigator of seven PTSD-related grants funded by the VA, NIMH and the Department of Defense.
Prior to joining NYU Langone Medical Center in 2010, Dr. Marmar served as Professor and Vice-chair of the Psychiatry Department at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and the Associate Chief of Staff for mental health and Director of the PTSD Research Program at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.