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Graduate School of Professional Psychology
The Sturm Specialty in Military Psychology

The Sturm Specialty in Military Psychology

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The State of Military & Veterans Behavioral Health Services

Serving Those Who Have Served Us

There are 22.2 million Veterans in the United States, with almost 3 million individuals who have been deployed to the conflicts in Iraq and/or Afghanistan (OIF, OEF, OND) and surrounding countries on behalf of the United States armed forces. Colorado is home to more than 416,000 Veterans, and the need for behavioral and mental health care services for all Veterans, Service Members and their families is growing dramatically. The demand for carefully trained and culturally competent psychologists to asses and treat this population is expected to outgrow the number of practitioners in the workforce. 

The Sturm Family Foundation and the University of Denver’s (DU) Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP) have partnered to create a specialty academic and clinical training track for graduate students who wish to serve this population and to address the need for psychologists. The Sturm Specialty in Military Psychology helps expand behavioral and mental health services for the individuals who have served our country, in both the Colorado and DU communities. 

Expanding Behavioral Health Services for Military and Veterans in Our Community

Military psychology is a sub-discipline borne out of the need to address the unique issues that are faced by Veterans, Service Members and their families. Active duty and military Veterans are often plagued by above-average rates of substance abuse, chronic homelessness, psychological disorders, suicide, and impaired vocational functioning because of the impact of their service and reintegration challenges. This population deserves care from those providers who have expertise and an understanding of their unique issues. GSPP has partnered with the Sturm Family Foundation to employ experienced psychologists with specific expertise in military and Veteran psychology to oversee the clinical and academic work in this specialty.

Specifically, the Sturm Specialty in Military Psychology includes four key components:

  1. Focused Academic Training. This involves coursework targeting military culture around the world, current political affairs, military and mental health policy, physiological and psychological effects of military duty, evidence-based assessment and treatment of military-related health disparities, interprofessional healthcare education, and behavioral medicine applications in the military. 

  2. The Sturm CenterThis off-campus community clinic provides behavioral and mental health services to Veterans, Service Members and their families. The graduate students in the Sturm Specialty provide evidence-based, personalized and culturally competent services. They are supervised by licensed clinical psychologists who have specific expertise working with this population.

  3. Consulting, Outreach and Community Education. The Faculty and Clinic Directors in the Sturm Specialty partner together to provide consulting, briefs, and updates on difficult situations, cultural considerations, and up-to-date knowledge on health disparities - specifically mental and behavioral health issues affecting this population - to outside agencies, stakeholders, government, and community partners.

  4. Clinical Outcomes Research. Building on the coursework and clinical training provided, students will engage in research training which emphasizes enhanced clinical outcomes for services provided to this population. By employing new, innovative, and active treatment approaches with this population, students will engage in all aspects of research training within clinical and laboratory settings while in the program.

GSPP’s unique approach and 40-year history of research, service, and training create a solid foundation for the Sturm Specialty in Military Psychology at GSPP. The Sturm Specialty provides culturally competent and personalized services for our Veterans, Service Members, and their families, in addition to support for Veterans community groups. It creates a greater workforce to provide Veterans with assistance, and builds the University of Denver's reputation for supporting Veterans, Service Members, and their families in our city and beyond.

Meet our Faculty Director:

      • Jacob N. Hyde

        Dr. Jacob N. Hyde is a veteran of the Iraq War and has a Psy.D. from Adler University with a concentration in Primary Care & Behavioral Medicine. He has trained within the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), The University of Chicago's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, and the Veterans Health Administration's Center of Excellence in Primary Care Education in Boise, Idaho. He most recently conducted post-doctoral fellowship training in health psychology and primary care at the Phoenix V.A. Medical Center where he designed and led the integration of the primary care psychology fellowship and internal medicine residency training programs within the primary care department (Academic PACT). Dr. Hyde has a particular interest in behavioral medicine issues affecting military members and Veterans like gastrointestinal illness and eating/weight-related disorders. Dr. Hyde's current research in the Sturm Specialty in Military Psychology is funded by the Colorado Brain Injury Program. Dr. Hyde serves on the University of Denver's Institutional Review Board and is the faculty advisor to the University of Denver's Student Veteran Association.

        Dr. Hyde may be reached at


Meet our Clinic Director:

      • Katy Barrs

        Dr. Katy Barrs completed her doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Denver's Graduate School of Professional Psychology in 2007. She recently returned to the University of Denver as the Clinic Director of the Sturm Center. Dr. Barrs has worked with Veterans, Service members and their families at the Minneapolis V.A. Medical Center, the Boston V.A. Healthcare System, and most recently the Denver Vet Center where she served in the role of Military Sexual Trauma Treatment Coordinator. Dr. Barrs oversees the Sturm Center, provides clinical education to multiple students within the clinic, and provides licensed community clinicians with education and consulting about these populations. She has been featured in the documentary Acronym, a timely expose about the nature of PTSD from combat. Dr. Barrs is also the 2016 recipient of the American Psychological Association's Society for Military Psychology (Division 19) Arthur W. Melton Early Achievement Award. She feels honored to give back to those who have served our country.

        Dr. Barrs may be reached at


Meet our Outreach Specialist:

      • Jeni Hunniecutt

        Jeni Hunniecutt is currently a doctoral candidate pursuing her Ph.D. in Communication Studies at The University of Denver and is a Veteran of the Virginia Army National Guard. Jeni earned her M.A. in Speech Communication at East Tennessee State University in 2013 where she studied the impacts of marital relational transgressions and their influence on adult children's relational development and interactions. Shortly after separating from her own military service, Jeni's research trajectory shifted to focus on experiences of female Service members and Veterans. Jeni now centers her research agenda on Veteran identity and reintegration processes. Since being a student at The University of Denver, Jeni has worked to initiate and develop a Student Veteran Association, where she serves as the Vice President. Jeni is also an Inclusive Excellence fellow for the work she does with military and Veteran communities on campus and across the greater Denver area. Passionate about her work with military Service members and Veterans, Jeni is humbled by her opportunities to continually serve.

        Jeni may be reached at


The Sturm Specialty in Military Psychology is proudly supported by:
 The Sturm Family Foundation