National Center for PTSD (Executive Division) | Psychiatry | Dartmouth-Hitchcock
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National Center for PTSD (Executive Division)

Established in 1989 by congressional mandate, the oldest of the trauma-focused centers affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry is the National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

NCPTSD consists of seven divisions across the U.S. The Center's Executive Division in White River Junction, VT directs strategic planning and policy across the Center's seven divisions.

The mission of NCPTSD is to advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's veterans and others who have experienced trauma, or who suffer from PTSD, through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and trauma-related disorders.

Complete information about NCPTSD and its educational products, programs and research initiatives can be found at the PTSD: National Center for PTSD website.


Executive Director
Paula P. Schnurr, PhD, Research Professor of Psychiatry

Acting Deputy Executive Director; Deputy for Education
Jessica L. Hamblen, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Associate Director for Clinical Networking
Nancy C. Bernardy, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Associate Director for Education
Cybele Merrick, MA, MS

Associate Director for Information and Communication
Margaret Willoughby

Associate Director for Research and Reporting
Lauren M. Sippel, PhD

Senior Advisor
Matthew J. Friedman, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology

Other affiliated investigators

  • Claudia Zayfert, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry
  • Paul E. Holtzheimer, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Director of Mood Disorders Services


The Executive Division's research has focused primarily on clinical trials of PTSD treatments and patient decision aids, educational product evaluation, and assessing models of care and improving evidence-based practice. Recent research initiatives of the NCPTSD Executive Division staff and affiliated investigators have included:

  • A research consortium developing a national PTSD brain bank, the first biorepository dedicated to researching the physical impact of stress, trauma and PTSD on brain structure and function.
  • Multi-site randomized clinical trial of prolonged exposure and cognitive processing therapy for PTSD in veterans.
  • Treatment of PTSD in primary care (RESPECT-PTSD) – a randomized clinical trial evaluating the three-component model of integrated care, developed by Dartmouth faculty for the treatment of depression, for treating PTSD in veterans who seek care for PTSD in VA primary care settings.
  • Clinical trial evaluating a decision aid intended to help veterans with PTSD make choices about the treatments they receive.
  • Randomized controlled trial of a cognitive behavioral therapy for PTSD plus usual outpatient addiction care or usual care alone for veterans with co-occurring substance use disorders and PTSD.
  • An ongoing initiative funded by the Mental Health QUERI focuses on evaluating and improving the use of evidenced-based prescribing practices for PTSD within VA.
  • Identification of models of care in VA PTSD outpatient clinics via interviews with clinic directors.
  • Evaluation of key Center educational products for the public and providers.

Illustrative publications

Visit the PubMed website to see a selection of publications related to the National Center for PTSD (Executive Division).