Marriage and Family Therapist; Military Sexual Trauma Coordinator
Melissa Tran is a Marriage and Family Therapist at Orlando VA Healthcare System. She is the Military Sexual Trauma Coordinator and leads the Perinatal Reproductive Education Planning and Resources (PREPARe) service, which has garnered national recognition through the achievement of the Dr. Robert L Jesse Award for Innovation. Ms. Tran is also a psychiatry resident supervisor and instructor for Kiran C Patel College of Medicine and University of Central Florida College of Medicine. Ms. Tran participates on the psychology training committee, and supports the diversity and inclusion team. Ms. Tran is Perinatal Mental Health Certified and is under mentorship as an AAMFT approved supervisor.
In 2020, Melissa and her team pitched an idea to their hospital leadership to develop a multidisciplinary program focused on serving the needs of perinatal Veterans. With funding through an innovation investment, perinatal reproductive education planning and resources (PREPARe) was developed in 2021. Prior to PREPARe, VA perinatal services were scattered between the VA and the community, or not available at all. The Orlando VA Healthcare System developed a one stop shop wraparound approach where services were offered by trained VA specialists. These resources include perinatal yoga, lactation counseling, perinatal certified mental health (MH) providers for psychotherapy and psychopharmacology, hypnosis and childbirth, nutrition groups, and more. Offering the wide array of services promotes longevity in breastfeeding, reduction in symptoms of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and improvement in health outcomes with greater education on various aspects of pregnancy/postpartum. The diversity of trained staff promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion to populations who historically underutilize services. Each offering is available via telehealth thereby improving access to Veterans where distance would have been a barrier. Melissa’s hope is to spread this innovation project to every VA system.