pSyTORM (pSychological Training, Operations, and Research in the Military) Lab

The pSyTORM (pSychological Training, Operations, and Research in the Military; pronounced ‘storm’) Lab is a unique joint training environment that is led by current and former uniformed military psychologists. The pSyTORM lab is focused on developing military psychologists as leaders in both clinical application and responsible conduct of research focused on military psychology. Students in the pSyTORM lab are expected to develop research skills that complement the work of active duty clinical psychologists as scientist-practitioners. This includes an emphasis on program evaluation and quality improvement as well as conducting collaborative research across the Military Health System with anticipated relevance at all levels from tactical to strategic. The lab operates under a co-mentorship model which involves joint mentorship meetings and weekly planning meetings with lab members, while providing an opportunity for individualized mentorship as needed. Research projects focus on a wide range of military-focused applications and adjust based on the operational needs of the services.

The pSyTORM lab is accepting students for the 2023-2024 Academic Year.

Inside the lab

More about Dr. Landoll
More about Dr. Shanahan
More about Dr. Bennion


Unplanned Pregnancies in Single Female Service Members


Decrease in Purchased Care Costs Achieved with PCBH “First Stop” Innovation


Total training hours in joint interprofessional Behavioral Health at Bushmaster field exercise


Proportion of high-performing learners endorsing self-care as critical to their academic success

Areas of Focus

The current active projects in the pSyTORM lab include:

  1. Military Active-duty Reproductive + Sexual Health (MARSH) Research Program. The MARSH Research Program is led by Dr. Ryan Landoll and is currently funded by the USU Military Women’s Health Research Award. MARSH focuses on reducing health-risking sexual behaviors through development and evaluation of a mobile health intervention (smartphone app), with the ultimate focus on improving military readiness through reducing sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy. MARSH leverages collaborations with military treatment facilities both CONUS and OCONUS and civilian research teams at The Miriam Hospital, led by Dr. Sara Vargas, and Florida Atlantic University, led by Dr. Candy Wilson.
  2. Academic Success Program Evaluation. In collaboration with the Office for Student Affairs (OSA) and the Long-Term Career Outcomes Study (LTCOS), under the supervision of Dr. Landoll and Dr. Bennion, the Academic Success Program Evaluation explores various aspects of military health professions education. This research is partially funded by the Northeastern Group on Educational Affairs (NEGEA) within the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). The focus is on application to the warfighter and other healthcare education platforms. Other projects that fall under evaluation of OSA’s focus on academic advising, career advising, and well-being support for military medical students allow for the application to other specialized and high-performing military operational units.
  3. Grit & Growth: Resiliency Curriculum Program Evaluation. Grit & Growth is a four-module resiliency building program for Army medical students administered during the first summer of medical school adapted from the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Model. In collaboration with OSA, this evaluation examines the impact of the Grit & Growth program on medical students. The 4-level Kirkpatrick model of training evaluation is the framework upon which the evaluation is based.
  4. Improving Family Readiness (iFAR) through Primary Care Behavioral Health. iFAR is funded by the Military Operational Medical Research Program and seeks to evaluate a model of family readiness in primary care. iFAR is led by Dr. Landoll, in collaboration with Dr. Jill Ehrenreich-May at the University of Miami, author of the Unified Protocol for the Treatment of Emotional Disorders in Children and Adolescents. iFAR is in the process of developing and evaluating through a pilot randomized control trial an adaptation of the Unified Protocol in a pediatric primary care behavioral health setting in the U.S. military.
  5. Forensics: Competency to Stand Trial (CST) & Criminal Responsibility (CR) in the Military.  This project, in collaboration with the Center for Forensic Behavioral Sciences (CFBS), evaluates the personality profile (as rendered by the MMPI-2-RF) differences between those recommended for CST & CR in the military justice system and compares these to civilian controls.


Other projects based on the research interests of both students and faculty advisors may also be possible.


Getting Results

The strategies for success in high performing learners can provide insight into interventions – both in medical education as well as other elite performance units. In this study, Drs. Landoll and Bennion, along with their colleague Dr. Lauren Maggio, identified that high performing learners tended to independently cite the importance of self-care in their success, along with the well-established education principles of spaced repetition and retrieval practice. (Medical education)

Medical Education

The Department of Defense has been a leader in the Primary Care Behavioral Health model since it was piloted almost 25 years ago. The Air Force’s Behavioral Health Optimization Program (BHOP)’s “First Stop” initiative re-aligned behavioral health treatment within primary care with impressive results in patient satisfaction and health care costs. (PCBH)


Operation Bushmaster is a capstone military field practice for medical students and graduate nursing students. Since 2018, it has also been a joint interprofessional exercise for clinical psychology graduate students and students in the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program. Dr. Landoll and Dr. McClenen serve as primary faculty for this program, which has also provided training for psychology residents in the military as well as collaborations with international military psychologists. (Operation Bushmaster

Operation Bushmaster