JGIM Supplement Highlights Engaging Patients and Veterans in Health Research as a New Field of Study
There is increased interest in patient engagement in the research process. The published literature on patient engagement grew more than 900% from 2000 to 2020, stemming, in part, from the 2010 establishment of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). In line with this growth, in 2015, VA’s Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) service established a national workgroup to develop goals for promoting Veteran research engagement nationally. Sponsored jointly by HSR&D and PCORI, this supplemental issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM) highlights research on patient and Veteran engagement in health research, reflecting their shared goals in assessing engagement in research and informing a larger strategy to continue developing the science of engagement. This Supplement features more than 20 articles that provide a rich reflection of how partnering with patients and Veterans in research has evolved over the past decade. Among the included articles are:
- Chrystal and colleagues’ study is the first to explore engagement in research from the perspective of women Veterans. They found four common barriers to participating in research: unawareness of opportunities, distrust of research activities, competing priorities, and confidentiality concerns.
- Elwy and colleagues discuss the process of engaging stakeholders in disseminating research. They present a three-step plan for identifying, categorizing, and involving stakeholders in the research process in a way that will lead to them becoming effective communication partners.
- Ray Facundo – a Veteran who served in Iraq – reflects on a decade of community engagement, during which Veterans helped Veterans, including the From War to Home: The Impact of Invisible Injuries project led by HSR&D investigator Gala True, PhD.
- Jensen and colleagues offer 10 tips for sustaining an engagement panel, such as: cultivating a climate of respect; dedicating time to building relationships; and creating a culture of transparency.
- Maxwell and colleagues offer Veterans’ voices as three Veterans discuss their engagement with VA research. One black, LGBTQ+ female Veteran reflected, “Being on the VCAB [Veterans Community Advisory Board] was emancipatory… I serve as a proxy to represent the multiple angles in which these research populations see the world.”
- Nearing and colleagues discuss engaging the wisdom of older Veterans (ages 62-92) – via the Older Veteran Engagement Team (OVET) – as a way to enhance VA care. They report that the OVET has resulted in reductions in patient wait times, as well as more appropriate use of services and increased patient satisfaction.
- Zickmund and the other guest editors discuss the importance of engaging Veterans in research. They also emphasize the need to strengthen the engagement community, along with the need to diversify and enhance the science of engagement itself.
Journal of General Internal Medicine. Special Supplement on “Patient and Veteran Engagement in Healthcare Research.” April 8, 2022.
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