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Josef I. Ruzek, PhD


Associate Research Professor

Contact Information:

Other Positions:

Founding Director, The Early Intervention Clinic




PhD, Clinical Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook (1989)
BA, Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, Cum Laude (1974)


Dr. Joe Ruzek is a Founding Director of the Early Intervention Clinic, a research clinic of Palo Alto University which provides brief counseling services to individuals who have experienced a traumatic event within the last two years. Along with co-founder Dr. Matthew Cordova, he supervises Ph.D. student trainees in clinic-based psychotherapy and research.

Dr. Ruzek is a clinical psychologist specializing in treatment of post-traumatic stress problems. He currently serves as Director of the Dissemination and Training Division of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD. He is coeditor of two editions of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies for Trauma, and a contributing author for the National Center for PTSD’s Iraq War Clinician Guide. He is also a co-editor of Caring for Veterans with Deployment-Related Stress Disorders: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Beyond, published by the American Psychological Association. Dr. Ruzek is a past member of the (VA) Undersecretary’s Special Committee on PTSD and a past member of the Board of Directors of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. He is a member of the team that developed the joint Veterans Affairs–Department of Defense Clinical Practice Guidelines for Management of Traumatic Stress, and has been a lead for the national implementation of Prolonged Exposure evidence-based PTSD treatment within the Veterans Health Administration.

Dr. Ruzek specializes in early intervention for trauma survivors and has been active in development and evaluation of early preventive interventions for disaster and terrorism survivors, returning Iraq War personnel, and patients seen in hospital trauma centers. He is an author of the Psychological First Aid field guide created jointly by the National Center for PTSD and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network for the SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services. He is also an author of Skills for Psychological Recovery, a manualized approach to crisis counseling. He is co-chair of the Early Intervention special interest group of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. In recent years, he has been working to develop technology interventions for prevention and treatment of PTSD, including, a Congressionally-mandated site for returning Veterans and their families, and PTSD Coach, an educational smartphone app designed to assist individuals with PTSD in managing their acute distress.

Areas of Interest:

Early intervention to prevent PTSD; Cognitive-behavioral treatments for PTSD; Web- and phone-based interventions; Dissemination of best practices in treatment of PTSD

Selected Publications:

Selected Books:

Ruzek, J. I., Vasterling, J. J., Schnurr, P. P., & Friedman, M. J. (2011).  Caring for veterans with deployment-related stress disorders: Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond.  Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association Press.

Selected Book Chapters:

Ruzek, J. I., Karlin, B. E., & Zeiss, A. (2012).  Implementation of evidence-based psychological treatments in the Veterans Health Administration. In R. K. McHugh & D. H. Barlow (Eds.), The dissemination of evidence-based psychological treatments (pp. 78-96).  Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Selected Articles:  

Alvarez, J., McLean, C., Harris, A. H., Rosen, C. S., Ruzek, J. I., & Kimerling, R. (2011). The comparative effectiveness of cognitive processing therapy for male veterans treated in a VHA posttraumatic stress disorder residential rehabilitation program. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology79(5), 590-599.

Belsher, B., Bongar, B., Ruzek, J. I., & Cordova, M. (2012). Social constraints, posttraumatic cognitions, and PTSD in treatment-seeking trauma survivors: Evidence for a social cognitive processing model. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 4, 386-391.

Benight, C. C., Ruzek, J. I., & Waldrep, E. (2008).  Internet interventions for traumatic stress: A review and theoretically-based example.  Journal of Traumatic Stress, 21, 513-520

Brunet, A., Bousquet Des Groseilliers, I., Cordova, M. J., & Ruzek, J. I. (2013).  Randomized controlled trial of a brief dyadic cognitive-behavioral intervention designed to prevent PTSD. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 4, 21572 

Bush, N. E., Prins, A., Laraway, S., O'Brien, K., Ruzek, J. I., & Ciulla, R.  (2013). A pilot evaluation of the online posttraumatic stress workshop for military service members and veterans. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0032179

Cook, J. M., O'Donnell, C., Dinnen, S., Coyne, J. C., Ruzek, J. I., & Schnurr, P. P. (2012). Measurement of a model of Implementation for health care: Toward a testable theory. Implementation Science, 3, 59-64.

Eftekhari, E., Ruzek, J. I., Crowley, J. J., Rosen, C. S., Greenbaum, M. A., & Karlin, B. E. (2013). Effectiveness of national implementation of prolonged exposure therapy in VA care.  JAMA Psychiatry. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.36

Karlin, B. E., Ruzek, J. I., Chard, K. M., Eftekhari, A., Monson, C. M., Hembree, E. A., Resick, P. A., & Foa, E. B. (2010). Dissemination of evidence-based psychological treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder in the Veterans Health Administration. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 23, 663-673

Kuhn, E., Eftekhari, A., Hoffman, J. E., Crowley, J. J., Ramsey, K. M., Reger, G. M., & Ruzek, J. I. (2014). Clinician perceptions of using a smartphone app with prolonged exposure therapy.Administration Policy and Mental Health, Jan 8, Epub ahead of print.

Kuhn, E., Greene C., Hoffman, J. E., Nguyen, T., Wald, L., Schmidt, J., Ramsey, K. M., & Ruzek, J. I. (2014). Preliminary evaluation of PTSD Coach, a smartphone app for post-traumatic stress symptoms. Military Medicine, 179, 12-8.

Ruzek, J. I.& Rosen, R. C. (2009).  Disseminating evidence-based treatments for PTSD in organizational settings: A high priority focus area.  Behaviour Research and Therapy, 47, 980-989.

Ruzek, J. I., Rosen, R. C., Marceau, L., Larson, M. J., Garvert, D. W., Smith, L., & Stoddard, A. (2012). Online self-administered training for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment providers: design and methods for a randomized, prospective intervention study. Implementation Science7(1), 1-14.

Suskind, O., Ruzek, J. I., & Friedman, M. J. (2012). The VA/DOD Clinical practice guideline for management of post-traumatic stress (update 2010): Development and methodology. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development49, xvii-xxviii.

Websites and Other Relevant Links:

Early Intervention Clinic at Palo Alto University
National Center of PTSD