The Veterans Garden In Tampa Officially Opens

Solar panels are the sole power for the sustainable garden project that was expanded to include veterans. It's a place where veterans can learn gardening techniques as well as solar power, raising chickens, bees and tilapia.

Solar panels are the sole power for the sustainable garden project that was expanded to include veterans. It’s a place where veterans can learn gardening techniques as well as solar power, raising chickens, bees and tilapia.

A ceremonial seed planting will be part of the official opening of the Veterans’ Garden, 918 W. Sligh Avenue, Tampa across from Lowry Park Zoo.

The event is set for Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, 10:30 a.m. and will include recognition of USAA which provided  a grant to expand the sustainable garden for veterans.

It’s a place where veterans can volunteer, learn agriculture techniques and the produce will be donated to veterans at risk of homelessness.

“Veterans found that since they started community agriculture initiatives that they were more comfortable talking with civilians and more comfortable talking to strangers and people that didn’t have a military background,” said VA researcher Karen Besterman-Dahan, “Those were really important things.”

She said researchers are just beginning to study the therapeutic value of  agriculture and gardening to help veterans manage depression, anxiety and symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

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Promising PTSD Research Will Soon Open to Veterans

USF Associate Professor Kevin Kip is the Executive Director of the USF College of Nursing Research Center which will soon be enrolling veterans for PTSD and TBI studies.

University of South Florida researchers briefed Tampa Congresswoman Kathy Castor Thursday afternoon on a wide range of scientific studies she helped to get funded through Congress. The USF College of Nursing receive $2.1 million to conduct five different studies aimed at helping combat veterans restore their lives.

One of the research projects Castor was updated on is called Accelerated Resolution Therapy or ART for short. It’s a therapy for people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that uses one-on-one therapy and rapid eye movement to help replace disturbing images from the traumatic event.

Epidemiologist Dr. Kevin Kip is the principal investigator for the ART research and the other four studies at USF College of Nursing. He said another study of the Accelerated Resolution Therapy is already underway.

“We’re doing a study on civilians right now and we have treated a few veterans,” Kip said. “We’re getting pretty good results and so we’re anxious to apply it directly to veterans.”

Kip expects to start enrolling veterans in the ART study at the end of July. Enrollment for the civilian ART study is still open. For details on the civilian ART study you can call 813/974-9310.

The College of Nursing soon will start signing up veterans for two web-based therapies. One study is for veterans with PTSD who may want to remain anonymous and the other online research study is for veterans with mild Traumatic Brain Injury.

A fourth research study will look at the prevalence of PTSD in both active duty military and veterans. Current estimates are that 20 percent of combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan return with PTSD symptoms.

“We essentially want to either validate the current literature or turn it on its head and say well maybe it’s not as accurate as people think and maybe the problems are even worse than their presently reported,” Kip said.

Women veterans are the focus of the fifth research study. There will be a celebration for the women who have served scheduled Veterans Day, November 11, 2001 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. The female veterans will be celebrated and treated to things like free massages, but they’ll also be screened for physical and psychological effects of military service.

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