Why helping civilian providers understand military culture matters

December 11, 2015

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

Defense Centers of Excellence

Some service members and veterans prefer to see civilian health and mental health care providers, and understanding military culture can enable these providers to treat them more effectively.  “Veterans who are younger don’t trust doctors for medical advice. Most of them search the Internet for information or reach out through social media,” said Dr. Niranjan Karnik, an associate professor at Rush Medical College. Consequently, they may not talk with providers about all of their problems. To fill in these gaps, primary care providers can use an understanding of military culture to ask the right questions to help identify behaviors that may indicate mental health problems. With more veterans and service members returning to school, faculty also need to know how to interact with this population, especially those with learning difficulties. Providers and faculty can learn about military culture and health and mental health problems common among service members and veterans from the free online trainings and other resources listed in this article.