Research at Columbia University Medical Center

The PTSD Research and Treatment Program at New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University Medical Center is home to many active research protocols, including protocols developed specifically for military families via the Columbia Veterans Research Center. Our primary goal is to enhance the understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma resilience, including its neurobiological mechanisms, and develop neuroscience-informed treatments.

We also aim to advance research of extremely traumatic events, improve trauma care in low and middle-income countries, and research and treat mental health problems that affect U.S. service members and their families. Participants in our research studies typically receive compensation and may qualify for travel assistance from locations in New York and New Jersey.

Individuals receiving treatment through the NewYork-Presbyterian Military Family Wellness Center at the Columbia Veterans Research Center are asked to participate in research, which primarily consists of filling out assessment forms that track progress in therapy. This information helps us improve our treatments and our understanding of the challenges facing service members, which enables us to serve you better.

We are currently accepting participants for three active research studies:

  • Equine-Assisted Therapy for PTSD (EAT-PTSD): EAT-PTSD is an experiential, group treatment, available only for service members and veterans with PTSD. In this program, you perform various exercises with a horse over eight 90-minute sessions under the guidance of a mental health professional, an equine specialist, and an experienced horse wrangler. EAT-PTSD is believed to work in part by helping you become attuned to the reactions of the animals, and benefits potentially including learning to recognize and regulate your emotional reactions and communicate more effectively with others.
  • Attention-Bias Modification Treatment (ABMT): Emerging research shows that people with PTSD are more likely than others to attend to perceived “threats” in the environment. ABMT was developed to modify your bias toward focusing on environmental threats, which may improve symptoms of PTSD. This treatment involves eight 20-minute computer-based training sessions and is open to those who meet symptom criteria for PTSD.
  • Neural Signature of Trauma: This research study is available to those who have experienced a significant traumatic event. The goal of this study is to help identify and better understand the brain patterns associated with PTSD, and explore the possibility of using neural signature to predict functional impairment and symptom severity across a number of disorders.

For more information regarding our other studies and for opportunities to participate in research, please see our main PTSD Research and Treatment Program site.