Leighann Litcher-Kelly, PhD Receives Grant from Veterans Administration Research Foundation

Leighann Litcher-Kelly, PhD has received a grant from the Northport VA Research Foundation to study factors associated with gastrointestinal symptoms in military personnel returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dr. Litcher-Kelly, who is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University, will serve as co-principal investigator with Robert Shaw, MD, the Chief of Gastroenterology at the Northport VA Medical Center. The study is called PATH — Psychological Experiences After Transitioning Home. 

The researchers will recruit 150 returning service personnel who have been diagnosed with PTSD and seek to identify factors which may help explain why some have gastrointestinal symptoms while others do not. Using the patients’ medical records and an on-line assessment tool, they will compare the psychological risk and resiliency factors, medical history and environmental exposures between the two groups.

Their hypothesis is that those with co-morbid PTSD and GI symptoms will report more risk factors, more environmental factors, and fewer resiliency factors compared to those with PTSD alone.