HSR&D Investigator Quarterly

WINTER 2020 issue:

  • Recommended Reading: Artificial Intelligence in Healthcareareas

  • Spotlight: Consortia of Research (COREs). Three newly-funded collaborative research networks focus on key VA priority areas

  • Research News: Highlights and deadlines for grant and paper submissions

  • Recently Published: Papers, briefs, and other work by or featuring HSR&D investigators

  • Awards & Honors: Links to recent recipients of national awards, honors, or significant career achievements

NOTE: HSR&D Investigator Quarterly replaced HSR&D Research Briefs (archived here).
Recommended Reading

The National Academy of Medicine’s special publication “Artificial Intelligence in Health Care: The Hope, the Hype, the Promise, the Peril,”, is a valuable reference document for all stakeholders involved in artificial intelligence, healthcare, or the intersection of the two. The publication was coedited by Michael E. Matheny, MD, MS, MPH, Associate Director of the VA Informatics and Computing Infrastructure, an HSR&D Resource Center, and an HSR&D affiliate investigator and general internist with the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System’s Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Care Service. 

Consortia of Research

HSR&D has recently funded the COnsortia of REsearch (COREs) with the goal of accelerating research that will lead to measurable improvements in the care delivered to Veterans. Research will be conducted in specific priority areas, and will incorporate the current HSR&D research portfolio, research agendas and solicitations from other Federal partners. Further, CORE projects will develop an inclusive network of researchers who will collaborate to further the evidence base in the funded priority area. The COREs also will work with QUERI to identify best practices and implementation strategies. The COREs focus on access, opioid use reduction and pain management, and suicide prevention.

Veteran Access Research Consortium (VARC)
To improve access to care for Veterans, VARC will leverage the learning healthcare system framework to accelerate access-related research and build a community of researchers. Specific goals include:

  • Build and support a VA-wide Access Research Consortium Network (ARC Network) of researchers, and leverage the ARC Network to guide related research and evaluation work.
  • Review and synthesize VA evaluation and research projects, federally-funded research, and VA operational initiatives.
  • Develop access metrics and a Research User Guide.
  • Create an access research roadmap and identify priority access research and research questions.

Principal Investigators

  • Michael Ho, MD, Director of HSR&D’s Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care.
  • Stephanie Shimada, PhD, core investigator with HSR&D’s Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research.
  • Sameer Saini, MD, Acting Director for HSR&D’s Center for Clinical Management Research.
  • Peter Kaboli, MD,core investigator with HSR&D’s Center for Access & Delivery Research and Evaluation.

Pain/Opioid CORE
By building a network of researchers and promoting interdisciplinary, cross-institutional research collaborations, the Pain/Opioid CORE will focus on improving Veterans’ care through opioid harm reduction. The major themes of this CORE include:

  • Behavioral and self-management approaches for pains.
  • Pain management interventions and care delivery
  • Long-term opioid therapy, opioid misuse, and opioid use disorder.

Principal Investigators

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

Suicide Prevention Research Impact NeTwork (SPRINT)
SPRINT’s goal is to accelerate suicide prevention research that will lead to improvements in care and reductions in suicidal behaviors among Veterans. SPRINT will support research in the following key areas:

  • Activating and educating communities to support Veterans’ engagement in their health and healthcare.
  • Match services to Veterans’ needs, including developing and testing methods for matching suicide risk level to prevention
  • Scale, implement, evaluate, and sustain existing evidence-based and promising interventions, such as brief, structured, psychotherapy interventions.

Principal Investigators

  • Steven Dobscha, MD, Director of HSR&D’s Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care
  • Mark Ilgen, PhD, Research Career Scientist, with HSR&D’s Center for Clinical Management Research
  • Teresa Hudson, PhD, PharmD, Associate Director of HSR&D’s Center for Mental Healthcare & Outcomes Research


Research News
Research news highlights and deadlines for grant and paper submissions
  • Daniel Hall, MD, MDiv, MHSc, a VA surgeon and core investigator with HSR&D’s Center for Health Equity Research & Promotion, was awarded Gold Status in the Diffusion of Excellence Shark Tank Competition. Dr. Hall’s decision-making tool was highlighted in The New York Times. Learn more

  • Sara J. Landes, PhD, Associate Director of the QUERI for Team-Based Behavioral Health, presented the Caring Contacts project to a roundtable discussion on “Technology and Behavioral Health: Innovative Approaches to Reduce Veteran Suicide” before the VA Subcommittee on Technology Modernization in Washington, DC in January. Learn more

  • The U.S. Postal Service has introduced a new “Healing PTSD” stamp to help raise funds to help those afflicted with PTSD. Learn more

  • The Psychiatry Research Supplement titled “Introduction to Implementation Science: Increasing Public Health Impact of Research” is designed to introduce the principles, concepts, and methods of implementation science. Learn more


Recently Published
Papers, briefs, and other recent work by or featuring HSR&D investigators
  • In Progress. The December issue addresses ongoing research advancements in VA mental health care, and the February 2020 issue looks at primary care research in VA.
  • QUERI eNEWS. The November 2019 issue of the Quality Enhancement Research Initiative eNews discusses the importance of collaboration.
  • New HSR&D Investigator Insights: Podcasts & Videos.
    • New podcasts have been added to our series. All podcasts can be heard on the HSR&D website, Apple Podcasts, and via XML.
    • New videos have been added to our ongoing series and can be seen on our website as well as on the VHA YouTube channel.
  • HSR&D Monthly Spotlight. The HSR&D website publishes a monthly feature highlighting ongoing and recently concluded HSR&D- and QUERI-funded investigations focused on a single topic. The following topics have been recently featured:
    • Health Equity
    • Homelessness
    • Access to Care
    • Diabetes
    • Women’s Health


Awards & Honors
Recent recipients of national awards, honors, or significant career achievements
  • Barbara Bokhour, Co-Director of VA's Center for Healthcare Organization & Implementation Research (CHOIR) and Principal Investigator of VA’s Quality Enhancement Research Initiative’s (QUERI) Center for Evaluating VA Patient-Centered Care, has been awarded the 2019 Engel Award from the Academy of Communication in Healthcare. Learn more

To submit an award notice for possible publication on the HSR&D website, be sure that the award is recognized at a national and/or international level. Internal awards, such as departmental awards, are not accepted. The award can be for a Center-wide achievement or for an individual investigator.