This June we pause to consider what PTSD Awareness month means at The Stellate Institute.
Certainly, awareness is a good thing. But we are a center of action.
We have a good opportunity this month to reflect on our mission. This includes our Big Four priorities to help those suffering from the injury of trauma:
- Serve as the world expert in applying new variants of the stellate ganglion block procedure,
- Provide compassionate world-class care as we treat patients daily,
- Continue to publish research as well as educate both our patients and other clinicians on the benefits of SGB, and
- Advocate on a national level for those struggling with PTSD.
Our community should absolutely be aware of the 8-10 million Americans affected by debilitating symptoms of posttraumatic stress, the impact on their families, their jobs, their relationships. Maintaining awareness of emerging treatments is also critical, especially if you are a clinician and particularly if you consider yourself a trauma expert. This is a major component of our outreach here at The Stellate Institute, which we strive to accomplish through public engagements, social media, face-to-face discussions, presentations, podcasts, and educational videos. Many turn to our YouTube channel for updates on emerging discoveries. In the information-saturated world we live in now, we know clinicians struggle to maintain currency in medicine which should include reading professional journals for the latest in evidence-based care, so we try to help our colleagues by sharing our work in open access articles on the Evidence page on our website.
We practice evidence-based medicine. And in the face of skeptics in the medical community, we completely understand that the plural of anecdote is not evidence. Therefore, we continue to conduct rigorous research on stellate ganglion block with the goal of finding the best way to integrate this valuable treatment option into other therapies. We are currently enrolling subjects in another randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluating SGB + CPT (cognitive processing therapy). In this effort, we’ve teamed up with The Ohio State’s renowned STRIVE center. For more info, see below.*
For us, continuing to publish research studies which stand the scrutiny of peer review is paramount to raising awareness among those interested in evidence-based medicine. Otherwise, it’s just our experience. Again, anecdotes do not equal evidence. And it will take evidence to change practice patterns and access.
Many of our patients and therapist colleagues ask us, “When will SGB for Anxiety or PTSD be covered by insurance?. Great question. I don’t know. What I do know is this, that we’ll continue to push for action beyond awareness. We will continue to meet with political leaders and other influencers who may be able to shape the insurance landscape, or who may assist with bridging solutions for access, such as grants or benevolent donors to help those suffering to access SGB. This is a multipronged effort, and if we are going to be the true SGB leaders in the world, we’ll keep our foot on the gas, every day.
Our patients deserve no less.
*R&R with SGB Study, STRIVE Center at The Ohio State University. https://medicine.osu.edu/departments/psychiatry-and-behavioral-health/strive/sgb
About the author: Dr. James (Jim) Lynch is the co-founder of The Stellate Institute in Annapolis, Maryland. He is a veteran of 31 years in the US Army. His passion is treating anxiety and trauma survivors from all backgrounds.