AFRICAN AMERICAN VETERANS,
POST TRAUMATIC STRESS
DISORDER (PTSD) AND
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Distinguished
Professor Endowed Chair Lecture Series
April 30, 2010
Bobbie J. Atkins, Ph.D.
San Diego State University
Thanks: To My Sorority-
Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.
"For their service and sacrifice, warm words of
thanks from a grateful nation are more than
warranted, but they aren't nearly enough…”
President Obama, March 19, 2009
• Langston University
Mr. Urban Miyares on March 17, 2010.
Association (DBA) and
its National Disabled
DEFINITIONS OF PTSD
• traumatic event
• intense fear
Veterans for Common Sense
• every service person is a
potential enemy target
• Solders - surviving and experiencing
more disabling results
• PTSD - second most prominent
• Impact – veteran and civilian workforce,
• Suicide and Soldiers
AFRICAN AMERICAN VETERANS WITH
• Dr. Moore
African American Veterans with PTSD
Special Attention - Women Veterans
• under explored group
• since the Civil War, African American women
have served in the military
Note: There is no one size fits all.
The uniqueness of each Vet and their situation
must be assessed and addressed.
• hallmark of rehabilitation - “holistic” approach
• Clear Assessment
• Involvement of the Veteran
• opportunity for higher education especially
• Asset Oriented Approach (Atkins, 1988)
Assets of the African American Vet
• People skills
• Ability to follow directions (orders)
Self-Employment is not a
panacea and not for everyone
Develop Vet Teams
(support systems, family)
First Lady Michelle Obama
• Vet Centers
• Department of
• Higher Education
• Education of the Community
• Continuing Education for Service
• African American Vets with PTSD as
part of the education/training team
Racism and sexism
Self as a Resource
Goals, Recreation, Helping Others,
Jobs of today and the future?
◦ Federal and related governments
◦ “Social entrepreneurs”
• Women with PTSD
• National initiative of research and
• Co-operative agreements with
colleges and universities
• Anti-stigma campaign
• Training programs
• Reentry program
In the middle of difficulty lies
_ Albert Einstein
Best & Brightest
If you think you can do it, you can.
If you believe you can do it, you will.
If you trust you can do it,
you will make a difference.
• We must never give up
• We must do what we can
YOU ARE THE CHANGE
Mr. Urban Miyares This lecture would not have
been possible without your gracious generosity.
Thank you so much for your time, insights, and
wisdom. Your caring and ongoing service is
making a positive difference not only to our country
but also to the world.
Special Acknowledgments for the assistance
provided to me in preparing this lecture:
Ms. Nita Poole
Dr. Mari Guillermo
Ms. Janice Goforth, M.S., CRC 27
RESOURCES AND REFERENCES
• Vet Center
• African American Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder Association
• Center for Minority Veterans
• Disabled Businesspersons Association
and National Disabled Veterans
RESOURCES AND REFERENCES
• Institute of HeartMath
• National Association of Black Military
• Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission
• Veterans Employment Program Office
• Veterans For Common Sense (VCS)
Atkins, B.J. (1988). An asset-oriented approach to
cross-cultural issues: Blacks in rehabilitation.
Special issue: Journal of Applied Rehabilitation
Counseling, 19, 45-49.
Atkins, B.J. (2006). Women leaders in rehabilitation:
Multicultural-diversity opportunities and issues.
Journal of Rehabilitation Administration. 30(3), pp.
Frain, M.P., Bishop, M., & Bethel, M. (2010). A
roadmap for Rehabilitation Counseling to serve
military Veterans with disabilities. Journal of
Rehabilitation, 76(1), pp. 13-21.
Gamble, M., Dowler, D., & Orslene, L. (2006, April).
Assistive technology: Choosing the right tool for the right
job. Journal of Rehabilitation, 24(2), 73-80. Retrieved
February 23, 2009, from Academic Search Premier
Kristof, N.D. & WuDunn, S. (2009). Half the sky. New York:
Alfred A. Knopp.
Leung, P. & Atkins, B.J. (2007). Multicultural Rehabilitation:
An historical perspective. In P. Leung, C.R. Flowers, W.B.
Talley, & P. Sanderson (eds). Multicultural issues in
Rehabilitation and Allied Health. Linn Creek, MO: Aspen
Loo, C.M. (2010). PTSD among ethnic minority veterans.
National Center for PTSD – Fact Sheet.
Michael, N. (2009). Racial and ethnocultural considerations
in the treatment of combat related post-traumatic stress
disorder with service members and veterans of color.
Thesis (MSW). Smith College (61 pgs).
http://hd1.handle.net//0090/9913 (retrieved 2-9-10)
Miyares, U. (2010). An interview with an innovator.
Mr. Urban Miyares, President of Disabled Businesspersons
Association, San Diego, CA: (Personal Interview on March
Rebhahn, P. (2000). The effect of Personality on PTSD.
Psychology Today, www.psychologytoday.com/the
-effect-personality-ptsd (retrieved 3-19-10).
Robinson, M.C. & Mu’min, A.S. (2008). Diagnosis and
treatment of Veterans with mental disorders from
culturally diverse populations. Presented at the NAMRC
Annual Conference, St. Louis, MO.
Schwarts, A.C., Bradley, R.L. & Sexton, M. (2005).
Posttraumatic stress disorder among African Americans
in an inner city mental health clinic. Psychiatric Services,
56(2). http://ps.psychiatryonline.org (retrieved 2-4-10)
Thorp, S.R., Happener, P.S., Simmons, A.N. & Baker, D.G.
(2008). Overcoming obstacles to mental healthcare with
returning Veterans at the San Diego VA Healthcare system.
Presented in San Diego, CA
White House Office of the Press Secretary (2009, November
9). President Obama Launches Major Veterans
Employment Initiative. Retrieved from