The Greater Philadelphia Conference on Veterans’ Mental Health

Strategies and Treatment for Veterans’ and Military Families

This full day conference features some of the nation’s leading experts in military and Veteran behavioral health providing critical training for mental health providers. Homelessness, service members impacted by PTSD and other psychological issues associated with deployment, as well as devastating rates of suicide among Veterans prove that specialized treatment for our nation’s armed forces, and their families, is imperative.

Presentations will cover alternative approaches to treatment of PTSD as well the gaps in the most commonly used techniques. Also we’ll discuss the often overlooked role of the military family in Veterans mental health, the latest techniques and theories around suicide risk and prevention; the misconceptions and realities of reintegration including the lack of access to adequately trained counselors and mental health resources. Veterans, military families, staff of Veterans Service Organizations, and advocates (in addition to mental health professionals) are welcome.

  • Presentations by the nation’s leading Veterans behavioral health experts
  • Training for mental health professionals working Veterans and military families
  • Interactive Group Discussions
  • Networking Opportunities
  • 6 CEUs available

DATE: May 5, 2017
LOCATION: The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia
TIME: Registration 8:15 am, Program 8:45 am-4:40 pm
EARLY REGISTRATION: (Before April 1): $135

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please download pricing and benefit information here. Interested parties can email with registration questions.


Dr. Charles Hoge, Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired), author

Presentation: Once a Warrior - Always a Warrior: Bridging Gaps in Treatment of PTSD in Veterans
1. Military related PTDS from both a medical and Veteran perspective including the  paradox of war-related PTSD (where reactions labeled “symptoms” upon return home were highly adaptive in combat, fostered through rigorous training and experience)

2. The broader health impact of wartime service on Veterans and their families

3. The range of PTSD treatments which not only include CPT and prolonged exposure but also could include EMDR, stress inoculation training, written narration, oral narrative exposure along with complementary and integrative modalities such as acupuncture, mindfulness, yoga and others

4. The core components of effective trauma-focused treatment in civilian and military psychotherapy settings

Charles Hoge, MD, Colonel (retired), is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College (BA) and University of Maryland School of Medicine (MD). He received specialty training and board certification in internal medicine, infectious diseases, and psychiatry, and served a total of 20 years in the U.S. Army (1991-2009) and U.S. Public Health Service (1989-1991). Dr. Hoge directed psychiatric and neuroscience research at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) from 2000-2009. He deployed to Iraq in 2004 and Afghanistan (as a civilian) in 2011.

A national expert on war-related mental health issues and traumatic brain injury, Dr. Hoge has testified to Congress on five occasions and is interviewed frequently by national/international news organizations.

Dr. Hoge has authored over a 200 peer-reviewed articles, including over 40 publications in New England Journal of Medicine, and Journal of the American Medical Association or Lancet network journals, and his articles on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mild traumatic brain injury are the most cited of all medical articles from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also author of a self-help book for combat veterans and families titled, Once a Warrior—Always a Warrior: Navigating the Transition from Combat to Home. He continues to work as psychiatrist treating service members, veterans, and family members in the Washington, D.C. area.
Dr. Katherine Platoni, Psy.D., DAAPM, FAIS, Clinical Psychologist in Private Practice, COL (RET), US Army/COL, Ohio Military Reserve/State Defense Forces

Presentation: Realities about Reintegration
1. There is no cure for PTSD. Symptoms may wax and wane throughout the life cycle, but rarely do symptoms resolve completely

2. The lack of proper training in Military Culture Competency for community mental health organizations

3. The reality that PTSD may worsen as veterans age

4. The reality that trauma is unforgettable

5. Will discuss cutting edge, not evidence based interventions including hypnotherapy, Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation, and Percentages of Responsibility Technique

For more than 32 years, Dr. Kathy Platoni has served our nation as an expert in PTSD and war trauma. She is a practicing clinical psychologist whose passion for the treatment of acute and chronic pain is rooted deeply in her own experience of both.

Dr. Platoni was commissioned as a U.S. Army officer in 1979, and served more than three decades as a clinical psychologist before retiring as a Colonel in October of 2013. Dr. Platoni has deployed on four occasions in times of war, serving in locations ranging from Joint Task Force-Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Platoni has developed combat stress control, debriefing, and crisis management programs used throughout the U.S. Army. She held the position of U.S. Army Reserve Clinical Psychologist Consultant to the Chief, Medical Service Corps, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

Dr. Platoni’s private practice reflects her expertise in the sub-specialty areas of behavioral medicine and the treatment of chronic pain and chronic, debilitating, and terminal illnesses. She is the co-author/co-editor of two landmark books with Dr. Raymond Scurfield: Healing War Trauma –A Handbook of Creative Approaches, and War Trauma and Its Wake: Expanding the Circle of Healing.

She has also written more than 25 scholarly articles that have been published in professional and lay journals, and is regularly cited as an expert on issues of military mental health in the wartime theaters of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Dr. Platoni currently runs a thriving private practice as a clinical psychologist in Centerville, Ohio, and travels nationally as a sought-after author, lecturer, and therapist.
Dr. Augusto Ruiz, Psy.D., U.S. Navy (Veteran), Deployment Behavioral Health Psychologist, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Center for Deployment Psychology at the Uniformed Services University of the
Health Sciences

Presentation: Crisis Intervention for Veterans: Suicide Risk Assessment and Prevention
1. Latest treatment techniques in the Clinical Practice Guidelines being used by Department of Defense for Suicide Prevention

2. The latest theories on causes of suicide and how they can be applied to saving veterans lives

3. Case examples of effective interventions and lessons learned from a deployed platform

Augusto Ruiz, Psy.D., is a deployment behavioral health psychologist with the Center for Deployment Psychology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. Located at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Dr. Ruiz is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. As a Navy psychologist, he was stationed at the Hospital Point Clinic at the United States Naval Academy and on the USS Carl Vinson. He also has worked with deployed service members in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and has been on deployment in the Persian Gulf. Dr. Ruiz received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He completed his residency at the National Naval Medical Center.

Prior to joining CDP, Dr. Ruiz was a supervisor at the Montgomery County, Maryland Crisis Center, a position he left to return to Navy medicine. The focus of Dr. Ruiz’s work, supervision and training is on deployment-related mental health issues, crisis intervention, suicide assessment and suicide prevention.

Additionally, he focuses on cross cultural psychology and the treatment of diverse populations. He has conducted seminars to sailors, mental health professionals, and police departments on cross cultural issues, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and suicide prevention.