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Building strategic partnerships to positively impact military service-connected communities

In this video, Chris Flaherty, director of the Military Behavioral Health Research Laboratory and associate professor, discusses the College of Social Work’s important role as a strategic partner to the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Flaherty explains how, as a leading research university, UK uses valuable resources like data analysis, grant writing, and more to inform treatment decisions, improve service delivery, and guide best practices.

CHRISTOPHER FLAHERTY: The UK College of Social Work is a very valuable strategic partner to the Department of Defense and to the VA because a research university really brings a lot of skills and resources to the table that aren’t necessarily available within the system. For instance, the military side of the house, they gather a lot of data on an ongoing basis, massive amounts of data. And to analyze this data in a sophisticated way, to come to the best conclusions takes a lot of skill and a lot of time.

Those things aren’t necessarily available, as many of these people who are gathering these data are involved in clinical practice, and they’re very busy. And so what we can bring to that is we can bring data analysis expertise. We can bring writing expertise. We can bring grant writing expertise.

And we can inform treatment decisions about service delivery and best practices and services. And then we can track those changes over time to see what’s working, what’s not, and we can feed that back into the system. It would be difficult for the military to do that on its own considering all the other demands.