Member spotlight: Walter Erich Penk, PhD, ABPP.
Article Type: Biography
Subject: Psychiatrists (Biography)
Pub Date: 06/22/2009
Publication: Name: Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association Publisher: American Psychotherapy Association Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Psychology and mental health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 American Psychotherapy Association ISSN: 1535-4075
Issue: Date: Summer, 2009 Source Volume: 12 Source Issue: 2
Persons: Biographee: Penk, Walter Erich
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 218314001
Full Text: Walter Erich Penk, PhD, ABPP, is Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Texas A&M College of Medicine and a Consultant in Mental Health Services for the Central Texas VA Health Care System.


Dr. Penk completed undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Houston and post-doctoral training in clinical health services research at the VA medical center and Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He has served as a Clinical Psychologist and Research Psychologist with the Veterans Health Administration in Houston. Dallas. Boston. and Bedford. Massachusetts, where he was Chief of the Psychology Service. He held adjunct clinical appointments in Dallas at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center and in Boston at Tufts, Boston University, University of Massachusetts, and Harvard Medical Schools. Dr. Penk has been funded as a Principal Investigator by the Veterans Health Administration (VA). National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for studies validating efficacy of treatments for co-occurring PTSD, addictions, and other mental disorders.


Dr. Penk's areas of interest include cognitive-behavioral and psychosocial rehabilitation techniques designed to treat persons exposed co life-threatening events who meet criteria for Post- traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) and other trauma-related disorders, including addiction and serious mental illness. He has published more than 130 papers in peer-reviewed journals, including findings from randomized clinical trials for CBT and vocational rehabilitation.

Dr. Penk has served as Director of Psychology for the Department of Mental Health in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and was the Associate Director of the New England VA (VISN 1) Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center. He has held elected offices in Division 18 (Psychologists in Public Service) of the American Psychological Association (APA).

Awards/Recognition For his clinical and research studies, he is the recipient of a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association (APA) and has received a Distinguished Career Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs. His research has been recognized by the Harold Hildreth Award from APA's Division 18 in 2006 and, in 2007. his work was cited through award of the 2007 American Rehabilitation Counseling Association along with his colleagues from Boston University.

Currently, Dr. Penk serves as a mentor in the PTSD Mentor/Mentee program for the VISN 17 (Central Texas) Mental Health Council; in this capacity, Dr. Penk works with clinicians new on the VA who are treating PTSD and other conditions among OIF (Iraq)/OEF (Afghanistan) combat veterans. Furthermore, Dr. Penk is a consultant to the VA's Rehabilitation Research, concentrating on integrating PTSD treatment within psychosocial rehabilitation services. Dr. Penk consults with one of the VA's three new Centers of Excellence a Center for Stress Disorders Research, located at the VA medical center in Waco, Texas. His major focus Is emprically validating outcomes for psychotherapies. Dr. Penk is a member of the American Psychotherapy Association and was introduced to the association by Luniece Obst, Chart of the American Board of Professional Counselors.
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