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Building community capacity to care for military and veteran families: The star behavioral health providers program

APA Citation:

Wadsworth, S. M., Topp, D., Broniarczyk, K., Edwards, S. A., Riggs, D., & Hughes, H. (2021). Building community capacity to care for military veteran families: The Star Behavioral Health Providers program. Military Behavioral Health, 9(2), 206-222. https://doi.org/10.1080/21635781.2020.1864525

Abstract Created by REACH:

The Star Behavioral Health Providers (SBHP) program was designed to prepare behavioral health providers to provide better-informed care to military families. Providers (N = 2,411) completed trainings related to military culture, common behavioral health concerns among military families (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder, suicide, depression), and evidence-based therapies (e.g., cognitive processing therapy) that address these concerns. Providers completed questionnaires before and after the training and at a two-month follow-up on perceived knowledge gain (i.e., self-report of what was learned) and actual knowledge gain (i.e., questions answered correctly), application of information learned, and participation in TRICARE and Military OneSource networks. Many providers also registered on a web-based database through which military families can find local behavioral health care providers. The results were promising and suggested that providers who work with military families may benefit from participating.


Mental health

Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:

Active Duty

Subject Affiliation:

Military medical service providers
Military non-medical service providers


Adulthood (18 yrs & older)


Longitudinal Study
Quantitative Study


Wadsworth, Shelley MacDermid, Topp, David, Broniarczyk, Kathy, Edwards, Scott A., Riggs, David, Hughes, Hayley


Service members, veterans, and their families frequently have difficulties finding trained behavioral health providers who have knowledge of military culture and issues specific to the military population. This paper documents the design, implementation, effectiveness, and proximal outcomes of the Star Behavioral Health Providers training program (SBHP). We created SBHP as a dissemination effort in response to elevated levels of mental health problems among community-dwelling military and veteran families (CDMVF), limitations in provider capacity in the Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA), and uneven preparation of civilian providers to serve military and veteran families. The goals of the initiative were to: Improve the preparation of community-based professionals to work with CDMVF. Increase providers’ use of evidence-informed information and practices. Strengthen the behavioral health infrastructure for treating CDMVF. The program provides military-specific training to community-based behavioral health providers and provides a mechanism for those seeking such services to find trained providers. Evaluation data, though limited by the lack of comparison or control groups, provided correlational evidence consistent with each program goal.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Taylor & Francis

Publication Type:

REACH Publication
Featured Research

Author Affiliation:

Human Development and Family Studies, Purdue University, SMW
Miltiary Family Research Institute, Purdue University, DT
Human Development and Family Studies, Purdue University, KB
Office of the Join Surgeon, National Guard Bureau, SAE
Center for Deployment Psychology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, DR
Carolina Strategies, HH


clinical practice, evidence-based practice, families and children, marriage relations, divorce, remarriage, spouses

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary


Preparation of this manuscript was supported by grants to the first author from Lilly Endowment and a subcontract funded by Department of Defense Suicide Prevention Office [DFAR 252.204-7000].

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