Last week, a briefing sponsored by the Friends of VA Medical Care and Health Research (FOVA) brought the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Research and Development program to Capitol Hill. Two researchers – John McQuaid, Ph.D., of San Francisco VA Medical Center and Daniel Gottlieb, M.D., M.P.H., of VA Boston Healthcare System – shared their work to advance health outcomes for veterans. The topics discussed varied, including substance abuse, phantom pain, depression, and sleep apnea, and represented just a small fraction of the research conducted by VA Research and Development. The mission of the VA research team was clear: we as a nation have the responsibility to apply science to veterans’ care in order to achieve the highest level of care for those who served this country.
In order to reach that goal, the many players in the health research ecosystem need to work together. The speakers described the system as interdependent, highlighting the “cross-pollination” across the various public, private, and academic research systems. VA Research and Development has successfully partnered with other government agencies – including the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Research and Healthcare Quality – in order to maximize the reach and scope of their research. Examples from the San Francisco VA Medical Center model promoted the unique role of non-governmental organizations, such as non-profits, in linking federal and private research partnerships. Strategic collaboration can leverage collective resources for research during this era of tight budgets and allow for improved health outcomes for our veterans. To learn more about the important research conducted through the VA Research and Development program, please click here.