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VA Health Systems Research

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COIN: Center for Health Equity Research & Promotion (CHERP); Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, PA

Center for Health Equity Research & Promotion

Directors: Michael Fine, MD, MSc and Peter Groeneveld, MD, MS


About the COIN

The Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) represents a well-established collaboration between the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center in Philadelphia and their respective academic affiliates, the University of Pittsburgh and University of Pennsylvania. CHERP's mission is to advance the quality and equity of health and health care for Veterans, especially those from vulnerable populations. Our vision is that all Veterans receive accessible, equitable, high-quality, high-value health care and that the Veterans Health Administration is a national model for health care delivery reflective of these qualities. Our mission is to advance the quality and equity of health and health care for Veterans through health services research, research training and mentoring, service, partnerships, and stakeholder engagement.

Research Focus Areas

Research at this Center focuses on:

  1. Improving quality and equity of health and health care for vulnerable Veteran populations
  2. Improving the quality, safety, and value of clinical therapeutics
  3. Innovative health services research that addresses VA and HSR&D priorities

Research to Impact for VeteRans (RIVRs)

The Research to Impact for VeteRans (RIVRs) program is a new HSR&D funding mechanism that gives researchers the opportunity to pursue a five-year impact goal. Each RIVR impact goal aligns with VA priority areas including VA legislative priorities (e.g., MISSION Act); cross-cutting ORD priorities (e.g. PTSD); other HSR&D defined clinical priorities (e.g. Health Equity); and HSR&D methodological priorities (e.g. Data Sciences, Implementation Sciences, Systems Engineering). Impact goals for RIVRS could include changes in VA policy or clinical guidelines, spread of operational processes across VISNs, scaling of an effective intervention to 2-3 additional sites, advancements in health services research methods, or any other impacts that have real-world effects on Veteran health and satisfaction.

Current RIVR project

Equity and Quality Aligned (EQuAl)

Principal Investigator: Leslie Hausmann, PhD

The goal of this program is to integrate equity into evidence-based quality improvement (QI) efforts in VISN4, to be accomplished in three stages. First, investigators will develop instructional materials for using an interactive disparities dashboard that was developed in partnership with VA’s Office of Health Equity (OHE) to identify racial/ethnic, sex, and/or rural/urban disparities in VA quality measures at the VISN and local levels. Second, investigators will facilitate, test, and evaluate use of the disparities dashboard in three or more equity-focused QI initiatives in VISN4. Finally, these demonstration projects will inform the creation of a master facilitator’s guide for assisting QI teams with incorporating the disparities dashboard into their workflow. To support spread of this practice beyond VISN4, investigators will use the guide to train OHE staff as facilitators of equity-focused QI at VA facilities across the nation. Expanded reach of this program will be accomplished by producing tools and processes that can be extended to other VISNs and Veteran populations at risk for disparate health care (e.g., those who are homeless or have serious mental illness.


CHERP is home to post-doctoral training programs in health services research, women’s health, addiction research, and medication safety and pharmaceutical outcomes, all supported by the VA Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA). The Philadelphia site also hosts the National Clinician Scholars Program in partnership with OAA.

Veteran Community Engagement

CHERP has well-established Veteran Community Advisory Boards (VCABs) at both sites. VCAB members receive training regarding the VA research enterprise, the research process, and protection of human subjects, and provide input on research ideas, study design, and other COIN initiatives. CHERP has also engaged diverse Veteran stakeholders as panelists for field-based meetings focused on health equity and social determinants of health and ensures Veteran representation on our Steering Committee.

Partner Offices

CHERP investigators partner with VA stakeholders to maximize the value and impact of their work. Key partners include the host VA Medical Centers, VISN4, the Office of Health Equity, Pharmacy Benefits Management and the national Center for Medication Safety. Additional national partners include:

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Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.