Contact Shelia White 228.865.4573
Author Jason Sherwood
Gulfport—War-related trauma expert and associate
professor at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Dr.
Ray Scurfield has just released his second book titled Healing
Journeys: Study Abroad with Vietnam Veterans. The book is the
second volume in a three-part series featuring Scurfield’s studies
and experiences locally and abroad with war veterans and their recovery.
“For a lot of years people have told me that I should start writing
a book, because I have so many articles published on the subject,”
Dr. Scurfield said. “I believe that I have something very substantial
to offer in terms of understanding and perspective.”
A Vietnam veteran, Scurfield served in the Department of Veterans
Affairs for 25 years and has directed many post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) mental health programs throughout the country. He
is also internationally recognized as an expert in war-related PTSD
with more than 250 publications, presentations, and appearances
on the subject.
His trilogy captures three separate experiences in Vietnam both
as a veteran and scholar, as well as the current issues with war-related
trauma post 9/11 and in the Iraqi conflict.
Having shared in the sudden changes on the coast since Katrina,
Scurfield has also offered free PTSD counseling and workshops to
local staff, faculty, and students on the coast. He calls the Gulf
Coast “a war zone without the gunfire,” and says people are still
dealing with the emotional effects of the sudden changes.
Scurfield’s second volume features his study abroad sponsored by
the University of Southern Mississippi in 2000, integrating students
and combat veterans in a combined history and mental health curriculum.
Scurfield offers a detailed analysis of the benefits and shortcomings
in veterans returning to the location.
The book also confronts three important aspects of war and veteran
readjustment: wounded veteran’s experience of evacuation and treatment;
the racism and its inculcation during basic to dehumanize the enemy;
and the “collusion of silence” that often occurs in government and
society regarding the “full human impact of war.”
“When the study abroad came along… I said to myself, ‘If I’m ever
going to write a book it needs to be now.’ Then (after 9/11 and
the Iraqi conflict happened), I realized that much of what I had
written about and understand has not been incorporated and applied
(to Iraq), so I said, ‘I can’t stop with my 2000 trip. I’ve got
to bring this up to the current day.’”
With the third volume (anticipated to be released in October) featuring
trauma-related effects in post 9/11 and Iraq, Scurfield says he
expects more of an interest than in the first two. However, he says
the former two provide powerful content for mental health professionals
and “people who really want to know the impact of war on military
“I’ve gone out of my way to try and not make this a dry academic
book. There are a lot of vignettes and first person things, and
people talking as they’re having their experiences. I think that
it’s a book that is much easier to read, and I think the content
is much richer this way.”
For more information about PTSD, go to http://www.usm.edu/socialwork/
or contact Dr. Ray Scurfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.