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 through engagement in self-care, engagement with VA and non-VA healthcare systems, and engagement in the research process.

Research Focus Areas

  1. Conducting research that helps Veterans with mental health conditions, including pain, improve their health and safety.
  2. Conducting research that helps Veterans, their supports, and their clinicians create and sustain effective healthcare relationships.

Within these focus areas, CIVIC’s investigators conduct research that seeks to:

  • Promote Veterans’ healthy behaviors, self-care, and active participation in mental health care.
  • Decrease risks for suicide and suicide behaviors.
  • Decrease risks associated with prescription opioids, and optimize use of effective non-opioid pain treatments.
  • Develop and test innovative tools and strategies that facilitate Veteran-clinician communication, decision-making, and trust.
  • Develop and test tools and strategies that facilitate communication, collaboration, and coordination within and among care teams.

A major strength of CIVIC’s research efforts is that many investigators actively work directly with patients in clinical settings.

Education and Veteran Engagement

The Center is host to a VA Advanced Fellowship in Health Services Research & Development, which provides two years of advanced, interdisciplinary training to physicians, psychologists, and doctorally-prepared social scientists and nurses in research and quality improvement methods in HSR&D.

The Center maintains a Veteran Engagement Group (VEG), which is comprised of Veterans from various service eras, branches, and backgrounds who regularly come together to meet with investigators. VEG members provide diverse and individualized feedback to CIVIC investigators at all stages of the research process. The incorporation of VEG members’ perspectives, especially as users of the VA healthcare system, can bolster translation to practice and help CIVIC research be more patient-centered.

Partner Offices

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

Whole Health Initiative (Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation)