Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a major public health challenge made increasingly more significant as Service Members return from recent conflicts in the Middle East. While effective treatments are available, a significant number of patients remain symptomatic or are unable to utilize these treatments to their full potential. Thus, additional development and treatment optimization is essential. Isolating efficacious components of treatment and empirically testing them requires multiple studies and large numbers of subjects, and thus, is prohibitively expensive. Research on mechanisms of treatment response can inform improvements in treatment development and practice. Integrating affective neuroscience methods, such as identifying candidate peripheral biomarkers, into treatment trials can make each study more informative and effective.
Dr. Rauch discusses methodology of how to integrate biomarkers measures into clinical trials and critical elements of design required to inform interpretation of results. She also presents results across several of her translational treatment outcomes trials examining potential biomarkers of PTSD and PTSD treatment mechanisms.
Sheila A.M. Rauch, Ph.D., ABPP, is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine. She led design and now serves as Deputy Director of the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program and Director of Mental Health Research and Program Evaluation at the VA Atlanta Healthcare System. Dr. Rauch has been developing programs, conducting research and providing PTSD and Anxiety Disorders treatment for over 20 years. Her research focuses on examination of mechanisms involved in the development and treatment of PTSD and improving access to effective interventions. She has led several PTSD treatment outcome and mechanisms trials funded through VA/DOD and other sources and has been training providers in PTSD treatment since 2000 including working with a team to establish a PTSD training network in Japan following the triple disaster in 2011. She has published scholarly articles, chapters, and books on anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) focusing on neurobiology and factors involved in the development, maintenance, and treatment of anxiety disorders, psychosocial factors in medical settings, and the relation between physical health and anxiety. She is an author of the new Prolonged Exposure manual to be released by Oxford University Press in August of 2019. Dr. Rauch has been involved in the modification and adaptation of proven psychotherapeutic interventions for anxiety disorders for various populations and settings, including primary care. She is a fellow of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy (ABCT), was granted membership in the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and serves as a member of the Board of Directors and Scientific Council of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.