Health Services Research & Development

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2017 HSR&D/QUERI National Conference Abstract

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2006 — Veteran Engagement Three Ways: Insights and Lessons Learned from Engaging Veterans at Three VA Research Centers

Lead/Presenter: Lindsey Martin, COIN - Houston
All Authors: Martin LA (Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety (IQuESt)) Stewart KR (Center for Comprehensive Access & Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE)) LaChappelle K (Pain Research, Informatics, Multimorbidities, and Education (PRIME) Center) Wendleton L (Rocky Mountain MIRECC)

Brief description of panelists:
To ensure that health services research is truly Veteran-centered, panelists were recruited by their research centers to lead efforts to develop, implement and maintain local Veteran Engagement Groups (VEGs). Panelists work with Center leadership, serve as liaisons between investigators and VEG members, organize and facilitate meetings, guide investigators on developing content for VEG members, and collect feedback to continuously improve the engagement process. A member of the Health Services Research and Development (HSRD) Service Initiated Project "Strengthening Excellence in Research through Veteran Engagement" (SERVE), and leader of one of the first center-level VEGs, will moderate the discussion.

Description of the question or issue that will be discussed:
In 2015 VA HSRD created the Veteran Engagement Workgroup to develop recommendations to increase Veteran engagement in research. To increase the reach of engagement efforts within VA research centers, the Workgroup widely disseminated examples and recommendations for developing VEGs. Center-level VEGs have spread widely across the VA system, each adapting to local contextual needs. Panelists will describe their individual experiences developing VEGs at their research centers located in three geographically diverse areas of the country, focusing their discussion on common facilitators and challenges encountered while implementing these groups. Collectively, panelists will build on the Veteran Engagement Workgroup recommendations by: (1) presenting tips and strategies for adapting a VEG to meet the unique needs of VA research centers; (2) discussing how to approach role differences between Veteran stakeholders and Center investigators to foster the development of bi-directional research partnerships; and (3) describing efforts to measure and evaluate the potential value and benefits of engaged research for both Veterans and research centers.

Significance—Description of why the issue is important for Veterans, VA, and the audience:
Veteran-engaged research has the potential to improve trust in VA health care, and increase the awareness and reach of VA research to Veterans who may or may not use VA services. When operationalized at the Center-level, engaged research helps to ensure that individual research projects and research center priorities are focused on the unique needs of local Veterans and their communities. At this early stage it remains to be seen whether including Veterans in research at the Center-level is sustainable and will result in larger paradigm shifts in health services research.