Health Services Research & Development

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COIN: Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC); Portland, OR

Director: Steven Dobscha, M.D.

About the COIN

CIVIC's mission is to conduct research that empowers Veterans to improve their health by enhancing active participation of Veterans and their supports in healthcare.

Focused Areas of Research

This COIN's focused areas of research include:


Veteran Centric Mental Health Care

Recovery places the Veteran at the center of treatment in order to restore hope and return of functioning, achieve life goals, and optimize quality of life. The long-term goal of this focused area of research is to improve Veterans' experiences with VA mental healthcare by enhancing the active participation of Veterans' and their supports in mental health treatment, with a particular focus on optimizing communication and collaboration with clinicians, self-management, and continuity of care. Early projects will seek to identify:

  • Veterans' and their supports' goals for optimal mental health, recovery, and mental health care; and
  • Facilitators and barriers to recovery—and to active participation of Veterans in treatment across the continuum of mental health treatment settings.

CIVIC investigators will then develop, test, and implement innovative approaches to promote Veterans' healthy behaviors and active participation in mental healthcare in an effort to improve mental health outcomes.


Strategies to Enhance Veteran-Clinician Collaboration

Multiple strategies exist for engaging, activating, and educating Veterans about healthcare. However, not enough has been done to understand the perceptions of Veterans and their supports about VA care, and how these perceptions impact communications and other interactions occurring between clinicians and Veterans. Productive and truly collaborative interactions between clinicians and Veterans are more likely to result in improved health. In this area of research, CIVIC will work to:

  • Identify Veterans', their supports', and care team needs and preferences for education and

    communication that optimize active participation of Veterans in care; and
  • Develop, test, and evaluate implementation of innovative tools and strategies that empower Veterans

    by facilitating effective Veteran-care team collaboration.



Partner Offices

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

  • Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation: Tracy Gaudet, M.D., Director; and Laura Krejci, M.S.W., Associate Director for Communications/Marketing, Education, and Research/Marketing
  • Office of Mental Health Operations (OMHO): David Carroll, PhD, Director
  • Mental Health Services-Suicide Prevention (MHS-SP): Jan Kemp, R.N., Ph.D., National Suicide Prevention Coordinator
  • QUERI for Team-Based Behavioral Health: JoAnn Kirchner M.D., Director
  • VA Northwest Health Network, VISN 20: Teresa Boyd, D.O., Chief Medical Officer

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