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WSUPG Launches PTSD Fundraiser, August 9, 2015


Wayne State University Physician Group launches
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder clinical initiative for firefighters, police and military veterans

City of Sterling Heights to play key role in development of a model program

DETROIT – The Wayne State University Physician Group’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, and Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences have launched an initiative to design and implement a comprehensive treatment model for police officers, firefighters and military veterans who experience Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

The initiative will incorporate both short-term treatment options for severe PTSD symptoms and much-needed prevention and awareness programs to help first-responders identify PTSD early in themselves and their colleagues. Some studies suggest that as much as 37 percent of firefighters in particular will exhibit PTSD symptoms.

PTSD is defined as an anxiety disorder triggered by witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event.

“PTSD is a very disruptive condition for both the patients and their family. In many cases, patients try to self-medicate, which leads to alcohol and drug abuse, behavioral changes and, in some cases, suicide,” said David Rosenberg, M.D., a WSUPG psychiatrist and department chair. “There are proven therapies and medications to help address PTSD in patients, but these treatments need to be tailored for a particular patient population. What works for soldiers in the battlefield may be different for a firefighter or police officer.”

The city of Sterling Heights will work with key WSUPG physicians and researchers in the development of this novel approach.

“Virtually all firefighters either personally experience PTSD to some degree or know a colleague who is dealing with it. Thank you to Dr. Rosenberg and the Wayne State University Physician Group for prioritizing this issue,” Sterling Heights Fire Chief Chris Martin said. “Working with a physician organization like theirs provides the initiative with valuable credibility, and I am confident that implementing best practices here in Sterling Heights will provide critical support to our firefighters and police officers.”

With input from the city of Sterling Heights, initiative leaders are committed to developing a model that becomes the standard for police and fire departments across the country. “We want to make sure our expertise in mental health can help those who are always there for us,” Dr. Rosenberg said.

WSUPG clinicians and researchers have worked for decades on identifying new ways to treat people with PTSD. The physician group has seen a drastic increase in PTSD-related patient concerns, due in part to an ongoing partnership with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit.

To help kick off the initiative, the Wayne State University Physician Group will host a fundraiser at 5:30 p.m. at Freedom Hill Amphitheater in Sterling Heights, before the venue’s Aug. 9 Beach Boys and Temptations concert. Funds raised will be put into a segregated fund within the Fund for Medical Research and Education, or FMRE, to be used exclusively to support PTSD research for fire, police and military veterans.

“The need is apparent. Sterling Heights has one of the best police and fire departments in the nation and its involvement enhances our efforts tremendously,” said Wayne State University Physician Group Chief Executive Officer Omar Khan, M.D.  “We ask so much of these heroes who look out for us and our families. It is a privilege to help them in their time of need.”

For more information on how to contribute, including sponsorships and donations, contact Lori Herman at 248-581-5929.

Note: Media is welcome to attend the fundraiser and concert as a guest of the Wayne State University Physician Group.

About Wayne State University Physician Group

Wayne State University Physician Groupis the one of the largest nonprofit multi-specialty physician practice groups in southeast Michigan, with more than 2,000 affiliated physicians providing primary and specialty care. As faculty members at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, WSUPG doctors are at the forefront of medical science. To make an appointment at one of more than 180 locations, call 877-WSU-DOCS (877-978-3627) or visit www.upgdocs.org. Connect with WSUPG at www.facebook.com/WSUPGDocsor follow @WSUPGDocson Twitter.

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