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About Us

Our mission is to provide quality and empirically validated treatments to individuals suffering from the impact of trauma in their lives.

The Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies ("PATSS") is a specialized program within Weill Cornell Medical College's Department of Psychiatry. Led by JoAnn Difede, Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of anxiety disorders, PATSS offers a state of the art approach to patient care that brings innovation to tried-and-true therapeutic techniques. Our expertise lies in the treatment of trauma-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety-related disorders, such as panic disorder and phobias, and mood-related disorders, such as depression. We conduct research on ways to improve the treatment of PTSD with those who have experienced trauma in everyday life and while serving in the military.

For many years, the program has provided psychological consultation to the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and has implemented a number of research-based clinical interventions designed specifically for individuals suffering from burn injuries, terrorist attacks, motor vehicle accidents, interpersonal violence, and life threatening illnesses. Through the Burn Center, we developed relationships with both the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and disaster rescue and recovery workers. Through our work with these groups, PATSS has become recognized as an unparalleled institution in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Our program greatly expanded following the events of September 11th. At that time, we began a psychological screening and treatment program for a corporation's employees who were exposed to the attacks themselves and/or were involved in the cleanup of the destruction left behind. We continue to screen rescue and recovery employees, as well as provide psychological treatment to employees affected by 9/11 and its aftermath. We currently have WTC clinical and research programs designed to treat individuals with symptoms related to the September 11, 2001. Additionally, we developed a Wellness Program to provide preventive stress management to hospital employees.

Through our clinical research programs, we strive to develop and implement state-of-the art treatment in dialogue with other professionals specializing in the treatment of trauma. We offer treatment through these protocols as well as through individual therapy.

Through our research studies and clinical services, we have been treating individual military service members since 2005. We have collaborated with military mental health providers at DoD facilities around the country to train mental health providers on the use of Virtual Iraq. Additionally, PATSS offers a series of Psychological Health and Wellness Workshops to active duty and veteran service members.

Among PATSS's major educational initiatives is our training of Department of Defense (DoD) clinicians to conduct PTSD treatment using virtual reality exposure therapy with active duty military personnel returning from OIF/OEF. We have multiple collaborative relationships with U.S. Military Hospitals and Army and Air Force clinicians across the United States. Our role in these collaborations has been to develop novel treatments for PTSD, train clinicians conducting the treatment with active duty military personnel returning from OIF/OEF, and provide ongoing consultation.

 
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Weill Cornell Physicians NewYork-Presbyterian