For the fourth consecutive year, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has made a grant to BUSM for Strength at Home, a nationwide program to prevent and treat intimate partner violence (IPV) in veteran populations.
With the Foundation’s support, Strength at Home developer and program director Casey Taft, PhD, research psychologist at the National Center for PTSD (VA Boston) and clinical research psychologist and professor of psychiatry at BUSM, will train and provide ongoing consultation to a network of VA clinicians, who will in turn train and deliver the Strength at Home intervention to 425 veterans, and assist their partners.
Dr. Taft and his team developed Strength at Home in 2008 to address the high rates of trauma-related violence in intimate relationships in which one or both partners have served in the military. Following Dr. Taft’s and his colleagues’ demonstration of the program’s effectiveness in two randomized clinical trials (the only trials to validate an IPV intervention), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has promoted the adoption of the program throughout its 152 medical centers across the country.
Since 2016, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has enabled the establishment of Strength at Home in 42 VA medical centers and has served approximately 1,400 veterans and their partners and trained more than 400 clinicians to either deliver or train others to deliver the program. “While the VA has championed the roll-out of Strength at Home and has provided instrumental coordination and cooperation throughout the VA,” Dr. Taft says, “it has not been able to allocate the funding needed to fully implement the program at its sites. The support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation has been critical to bringing this program to our nation’s veterans.”
A key goal of Strength at Home is to help participants learn to communicate more effectively, express feelings underlying anger, and de-escalate difficult situations. The program is unique in addressing the trauma that is often significant for people who have been previously exposed to violence, and in utilizing a trauma-informed approach that is typically not used by the majority of domestic violence programs.
This program is made possible in part by a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which is dedicated to ensuring that impacted post-9/11 veterans, service members, and their families are thriving long after they return home.