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"Transforming Veteran Healthcare through Partner-Oriented Research" was the theme of the 29th VA Health Services Research and Development Service (HSR&D) and Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) National Meeting. Hosted by HSR&D's Center
for Health Services Research in Primary Care, located in Durham, N.C. the meeting was held from July 16-19, 2012 in National Harbor, Md. Meeting participants selected among 121 peer-reviewed, highly rated scientific
paper sessions, 40 workshops, and 146 posters on vital healthcare issues, such as: chronic disease management (e.g., heart disease,
hypertension, diabetes), mental health, substance use disorders, telemedicine, women Veterans' healthcare needs, patient-aligned care teams (PACTs), and deployment-related health issues (e.g., traumatic brain injury, PTSD, chronic pain), to name a few.
Many of the studies highlighted during the meeting depend upon partnerships between HSR&D and QUERI and other VA programs and offices, such as the Office of Informatics and Analytics, Patient Care Services, and the Office of Information & Technology. This year's theme emphasized HSR&D's commitment
to increase high-quality, high-priority, partner-aligned research aimed at better meeting
the needs of Veterans and the VA healthcare
system. Research/operations partnerships will ensure continuous improvement and optimal delivery of healthcare for Veterans, so that research is more responsive to the prioritized
needs of the organization and the findings are more likely to be implemented and sustained in practice.
The Honorable Robert A. Petzel, M.D., Under Secretary for Health, presented the Under Secretary's Award for Outstanding Achievement
in Health Services Research to Elizabeth Yano, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., Director of HSR&D's Center for the Study of Healthcare Provider Behavior. Dr. Yano exemplifies high achievement
in health services research, impact of research on healthcare, and contribution to the care of Veterans. "Her career has made an indelible mark on VA research, policy, and clinical operations," stated Dr. Petzel. "Through her research, Dr. Yano has led significant
scientific development in two newly formed scientific fields--organizational epidemiology,
and the study of women Veterans and their care in VA. She has also carried out innovative work on VA primary care settings and their organizational characteristics."
Madhu Agarwal, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Policy and Services, presented Seth Eisen, M.D., M.Sc., Director of HSR&D, with the Under Secretary for Health's Exemplary Service Award for his "outstanding leadership and dedication to the Veterans Health Administration, HSR&D, and to the Veterans we serve." Dr. Agarwal spoke about Dr. Eisen's important research, including
his work in developing the Vietnam Era Twin Registry and his continued involvement in a national study of Gulf War Veterans and their families, as well as the progress he has fostered with VA's IT and health informatics infrastructure. She also remarked on his guidance
of HSR&D regarding its "increasing engagement with clinical and operations partners
with the goal of improving the impact of health services research on areas of importance
to our Veterans and to our system."
Other meeting highlights included a Partnership
Panel with two operations/research partner
pairs that described their experiences and challenges in implementing innovations in VA healthcare; a plenary presentation on the "Direction
for Implementation Science: Methods, Models, and Measures" by Russell Glasgow, Ph.D., Deputy Director of Implementation Science at the National Cancer Institute; and a session on "Engaging Operations Partnerships"
that was led by Jeff Murawsky, M.D., Network Director, VISN 12, which was followed
by lively participant interaction and debate.
In his address to plenary attendees, Dr. Eisen emphasized that the time is NOW for HSR&D to prove its value to VA. To ensure continued success, he told HSR&D researchers
that they need to engage both Veterans and stakeholders at the outset, speed and focus research, utilize informatics, and intensify
mentoring. In his QUERI overview talk, David Atkins, M.D., QUERI Director, spoke about several of the program's recent accomplishments;
for example, the development of toolkits to improve care for lung and colorectal
cancers. He also emphasized the importance
of partnerships in QUERI's success, including collaborations with VERC (Veterans Engineering Resource Center), My HealtheVet,
and VA System Redesign, to name a few QUERI partners.
Visit the meeting website at www.hsrd.research.va.gov/meetings/2012/ for presentation slides and other meeting information.