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FORUM - Translating research into quality health care for Veterans

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Director's Letter

Seth A. Eisen, M.D., M.Sc.

Thousands of Veterans returning from deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq have a spectrum of injuries and illnesses that present challenges for both Veterans and the VA health care system. Many have complex comorbid medical problems that might include traumatic brain injury (TBI), limb amputation, vision and hearing loss, chronic pain, as well as mental health and adjustment issues. VA researchers are dedicated to discovering solutions to the multiple health issues that result from the unique brutality of modern warfare, such as polytraumatic injuries from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

In this issue of FORUM, we are honored to have Robert Jesse, M.D., Ph.D., Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health, discuss VA's commitment to providing optimal post-deployment health care. Part of this includes focusing on patient-centered care, including the development of Patient-Aligned Care Teams (PACT). Dr. Jesse also emphasizes the importance of collaborative research, so that clinicians, policymakers, and researchers work together to improve the quality of VA care. Also in this issue, Nina Sayer, Ph.D., Director of VA/HSR&D's Polytrauma & Blast-Related Injuries Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (PT/BRI-QUERI), discusses the need to address questions about co-occurring post-deployment health problems. For example, how should clinicians prioritize Veterans' multi-system problems? This issue also features articles on women and post-deployment health, pain management, and TBI screening.

HSR&D researchers continue to prioritize deployment-related health care. Current areas of investigation include: TBI, mental health (e.g., depression, PTSD), rehabilitation, community reintegration, substance use disorders, and issues unique to women Veterans. For more information about our research, please go to www.hsrd.research.va.gov.


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