Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) is the psychological health component of the Defense Centers of Excellence for
Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). DCoE and its three centers, DHCC, the Defense and Veterans Brain
Injury Center (DVBIC), and the National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2) are responsible for informing, integrating
and evaluating psychological health and traumatic brain injury practices and policies across the services.
DHCC's mission is to advance excellence in psychological health care across the Military Health System (MHS) by enhancing
care quality, effectiveness and efficiencies; facilitating the translation of research to practice; and providing leadership,
advocacy and implementation support.
DHCC develops and implements health care practices delivered in MHS primary care and specialty psychological health care
settings to ensure that evidence-based treatments are adopted, that measures are embedded into the care system, and that quality
and access to care are improved. DHCC's research contribution helps shape a program of research across the MHS, conducts service
delivery studies and expedites the translation of science into clinical practice.
DHCC impacts the MHS in five major areas:
- Develops and implements evidence-based treatments and clinical support tools to improve psychological health specialty care
- Promotes a culture of support for psychological health by improving psychological health literacy, developing patient empowerment
tools, encouraging help-seeking behavior and reducing barriers to care
- Conducts an integrated portfolio of research to improve the psychological health system of care
- Integrates behavioral health into primary care to improve early identification and treatment of psychological health concerns
- Provides program monitoring and evaluation services, and develops metrics and measures to inform performance, outcomes and health care utilization
DHCC was first established in 1994 as the Gulf War Health Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center with a mission to care for Gulf
War veterans with war-related physical and mental health challenges. That same year the Defense Department instituted the Comprehensive
Clinical Evaluation Program (CCEP) to provide systematic clinical evaluations for the diagnosis and treatment of conditions connected to
service in the Gulf War. The Gulf War Health Center developed the tertiary treatment component of the CCEP, a three-week specialized care
program for veterans with medically unexplained physical symptoms focused on individual and group therapy, patient education, physical and
occupational therapy, and alternative medicine.
DHCC was re-established with its current name in 1999 as one of three Defense Department centers of excellence for deployment health.
The center was responsible for coordinating the evaluation of veterans seeking care for post-deployment health concerns using the Post-Deployment
Health Clinical Practice Guidelines. DHCC added a second track to its specialty care program for veterans with trauma spectrum disorders or
significant challenges with post-deployment reintegration. The program consisted of individualized behavioral health and medical care, group
therapy and psycho-education, and complementary and alternative treatments. The center also offered a one-week educational program for
significant others of those experiencing deployment-related health challenges, initiated a significant research portfolio related to deployment
challenges, and sponsored a week-long deployment-related health care track at the Army's annual Force Health Protection Conference.
In 2008, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provided a congressional mandate for the creation of centers of excellence for
PTSD and TBI within the Defense Department. In turn, DHCC became a DCoE center. The NDAA charges the center to implement plans and strategies
for the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment and rehabilitation of posttraumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions.
In 2012, administrative and programmatic oversight of DHCC's specialty care program transitioned to the National Intrepid Center of Excellence.