Health Services Research & Development

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Evidence-based Synthesis Program

About the ESP Program

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The VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program (ESP) established in 2007, makes high quality evidence synthesis available to clinicians, managers and policymakers as they work to improve the health and healthcare of Veterans. ESP reports help VHA:

  • Implement effective services to improve patient outcomes and support VA clinical practice guidelines and performance measures,
  • Develop clinical policies informed by evidence, and
  • Set the direction for future research to address gaps in clinical knowledge.

As part of the QUERI program, ESP is helping VA fulfill its vision of functioning as a continuously "learning healthcare system" to improve veteran health and health care. ESP achieves this by providing timely, targeted, thorough, unbiased and innovative syntheses of the medical literature for VHA to translate into evidence-based clinical practice and policy and quality improvement and practice-based future research initiatives at the national level. The ESP offers a range of products from rapid review evidence briefs to full systematic reviews, tailored to the needs of decision-makers. In addition to being made available throughout VA and in the public domain, ESP reports are also published in top medical journals, so that clinicians worldwide may access them, and some evidence syntheses have informed the clinical guidelines of large professional organizations.

The program consists of four ESP Centers, each with an active University affiliation, and a Coordinating Center, located in Portland which oversees national program operations, program development and evaluation, and dissemination efforts. The Centers are in Durham, Minneapolis, West Los Angeles, and Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. Center directors are recognized leaders in the field of systematic review methodology with close ties to the AHRQ Evidence-based Practice Centers and Cochrane Collaboration and are practicing clinicians in the VA. This unique expertise enables ESP to produce comprehensive reports that answer a wide range of research questions in a variety of clinical and health system settings with a special emphasis on the Veteran population and geared towards helping VA leadership with policy and clinical decision making.

Nominate a Topic for Research in the Program

Would an independent and rigorous review of the scientific literature help your office plan or implement a program, develop a guideline or directive, make a health policy decision, or inform future research needs? The Evidence-based Synthesis Program (ESP) is soliciting nominations from VHA leadership for review topics for FY 2018. Nominations will be accepted electronically using the Topic Submission Form.

Peer Review

ESP reports are externally peer-reviewed by clinical and policy experts. If you're interested in serving as a peer reviewer for the program, please register here.

ESP in the News


Click for list of published reports Click for topic nomination form Click for list of reports in progress

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Topic Nomination

Nominations are currently being accepted.
To nominate a topic, download and complete the Topic Nomination Form, then email the form to esp.cc@va.gov.

Recent Reports

  • Rapid Evidence Review: Measures for Patients with Chronic Pain (intranet only)
  • Interventions to Support Caregivers or Families of Patients with TBI, PTSD, or Polytrauma (intranet only)

More...