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Health Services Research & Development

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Pain/Opioid CORE

Alicia Heapy, PhD

Alicia Heapy, PhD

Principal Investigators for this CORE are: Alicia Heapy, PhD, Associate Director of HSR&D’s Pain Research, Informatics, Multimorbidities, and Education (PRIME) Center; William Becker, MD, core investigator with PRIME; and Erin Krebs, MD, MPH, core investigator with HSR&D’s Center for Care Delivery and Outcomes Research (CCDOR).

Research Update, March 2021


The overall goal is to foster high-quality, high-impact, and Veteran-centered research focused on improving care for and reducing opioid harms by building a network of researchers and promoting interdisciplinary, cross-institutional research collaborations. The major themes of this CORE include:

William Becker, MD

William Becker, MD

  • Behavioral and self-management approaches for pain, including studies of complementary and integrative health approaches, exercise/movement, and psychological and behavioral interventions, in the context of common comorbidities (PI: A Heapy).
  • Pain management interventions and care delivery, including studies of VA practice and policy initiatives and pain care delivery approaches (PI: E. Krebs).
  • Long-term opioid therapy, opioid misuse, and opioid use disorder (OUD), including studies of long-term opioid therapy, tapering strategies, and management of iatrogenic OUD (PI: W. Becker).
Erin Krebs, MD, MPH

Erin Krebs, MD, MPH


In each of the themes, CORE Leadership will work with HSR&D and contractors to conduct a portfolio review of current and past HSR&D studies, as well as NIH, DoD and PCORI studies. Operations partners include VA’s National Pain Management Program Office, Integrative Health Coordinating Center, Specialty Care Services, and National Mental Health Program.

“With the rapid changes in pain care emerging from the recent opioid crisis and the resulting critical need to improve the quality, safety, and effectiveness of pain care and its delivery, we are excited to support strategic and collaborative efforts to identify and address high-priority areas for pain research, working closely with key Operations partners. Drs. Becker, Krebs and I will strive to develop the Pain/Opioid CORE into a dynamic infrastructure that supports collaboration and coordination within the VA research community – and makes an impact on pain care and outcomes.” – PI, Alicia Heapy, PhD

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