RMHC Assistant Professor Dr. Tina Dillahunt-Aspillaga Awarded VA Funding

Dr. Tina Dillahunt-AspillagaDr. Tina Dillahunt-Aspillaga, Assistant Professor in the Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling Program which has recently merged with the College of Behavioral & Community Sciences’ Department of Child & Family Studies, has been awarded $27, 990 in funding from the Veteran’s Administration to conduct research on Employment and Vocational Rehabilitation of Veterans with Deployment-related Stress. Dr. Dillahunt-Aspillaga will provide subject matter expertise while also assisting in data collection, analysis, and interpretation, as well as report, presentation, and manuscript preparation.

Many Veterans are at a higher risk for experiencing traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) and may also experience increased rates of unemployment compared to civilian populations. Unemployment is linked to decreased physical and mental health. To support recent efforts to provide the highest quality of care to Veterans, Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) has been identified as a key outcome of long-term health and well-being. TBI and PTSD has been associated with reduced HRQOL.

Previously the Director of Family Programs & Services for the Brain Injury Association of Florida, Dr. Christina Dillahunt-Aspillaga focuses on the reintegration of veterans with TBI into their communities, while improving patient and caregiver quality of life.  She is currently an investigator on three other Veterans Administration grants:   ‘Action Ethnography of Community Reintegration for Veterans with TBI’, 'Measuring Quality of Life in Veterans with Deployment Related PTSD (DR-PTSD)', and Community-Based Agricultural Initiatives for Transitioning Veterans.

For this current grant which is funded 10/1/2015-9/30/2016, Dr. Dillahunt-Aspillaga will be working with Gail Powell-Cope, PhD, ARNP, FAAN, the Tampa Site Co-Director of the HSR&D/RR&D Center of Innovation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (CIDRR8) at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital. She holds adjunct faculty positions in the Colleges of Nursing, Public Health and Engineering at the University of South Florida.

For additional information, contact Dr. Tina Dillahunt-Aspillaga.