Health Services Research & Development

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

Directors: Michael Fine, MD, MSc and Judith Long, MD

About the COIN

CHERP's mission is to advance the quality and equity of health and healthcare for Veterans through rigorous health services research, collaborations, partnerships and operations and policy stakeholders, research training and mentoring, and service.

Focused Areas of Research

CHERP's focused areas of research include the quality and health equity of healthcare for vulnerable populations, and target six goals:


Understand and Intervene

CHERP's first goal is to advance understanding of the determinants of the quality and equity of health and healthcare, and to design, test, implement and evaluate interventions that will improve the quality and equity of health and healthcare for vulnerable populations. Vulnerable Veteran populations include, but are not limited to: racial and ethnic minorities, women, homeless individuals, sexual orientation or gender minorities, groups disadvantaged due to geographic residence, and Veteran cohorts with shared military experiences (e.g., OEF, OIF).

Improve Health and Healthcare

In CHERP's new model as a Center of Innovation, CHERP investigators also will support an emerging area of research concentration to improve the quality, safety, and value of clinical therapeutics (i.e., medications, devices, procedures) in the VA healthcare system and beyond.


Maximize Impact

CHERP will expand collaborations and partnerships to maximize the rigor, relevance, and impact of its research. CHERP collaborations are with investigators from other HSR&D Centers, non-HSR&D Centers, other VAMCs, and academic institutions, and partnerships are with VA stakeholders who share our commitment to improve the health and healthcare of vulnerable Veterans, such as the Center for Minority Veterans, the Office of Health Equity, the Office of Informatics and Analytics, and the Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group. CHERP activities also involve partnerships with Pharmacy Benefits Management and the Center for Medication Safety. As a COIN, CHERP will grow these collaborations and partnerships and establish new ones to maximize the relevance and impact of its work.



CHERP will continue to expand programs to increase VA and national capacity for rigorous health equity and health services research by:

  • Fostering academic research career development through mentoring and training of junior investigators;
  • Supporting activities to increase minority representation in the health sciences and health services research;
  • Capitalizing on VA training programs to increase capacity for partnered, impact-oriented research; and
  • Developing educational programs to support research career development and continuous learning for HSR&D investigators and staff.

CHERP's success in career development is demonstrated by numerous academic promotions and national leadership roles of its awardees, and their near universal emergence as independent investigators.



CHERP strives to advance VA's clinical, educational, and research missions by providing service to key internal and external stakeholders at local, regional, and national levels. CHERP will continue to serve these stakeholders by volunteering for key roles and responding to ad hoc requests for scientific expertise and technical assistance.


Maximize Capacity

CHERP will continue to augment established organizational infrastructure to maximize its capacity to conduct high-impact research and support the effective translation of research into clinical practice and policy, by:

  • Expanding its core faculty base,
  • Supporting three to four locally initiated pilot projects per year,
  • Supporting four infrastructure cores, and
  • Building capacity in implementation science.

A strong infrastructure will enable CHERP to optimally leverage HSR&D core and local institutional support to secure intra/extramural funding for research, to provide service for VA stakeholders, and to carry out the educational, training, and career development goals of the COIN program.



Partner Offices

Each COIN works closely with operational partners throughout the VA healthcare system. CHERP's partners include:

  • Center for Minority Veterans (CMV)
  • Office for Health Equity
  • Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation
  • Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group
  • Office of Informatics & Analytics
  • Office of Analytics and Business Intelligence
  • Office of Patient Care Services (PCS)
  • National Center on Homelessness among Veterans (NCHAV)
  • Center for Evaluation of Patient Aligned Care Teams (CEPACT)
  • Performance Reporting and Outcomes Measurement to Improve the Standard of care at End-of-life (PROMISE)
  • Pharmacy Benefits Management (PBM)
  • VA Center for Medication Safety
  • VA Healthcare VISN 4
  • VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
  • Philadelphia VA Medical Center
  • VISN4 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC)
  • Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC)
  • Human Engineering Research Laboratory
  • Veterans Engineering Resource Center (VERC)

Related Resources

Research to Improve Healthcare Equity by Leslie Hausmann, PhD

From War to Home: Through the Veterans' Lens
by Gala True, PhD